Veronica Roth, author of the Divergent series, said Shadow and Bone is “unlike anything I’ve ever read.” This alone intrigued me. When I discovered it’s a fantasy – not dystopian – with Russian influences, I knew I had to read it.
Synopsis: Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.
Leigh Barduga is the best world builder in recent history. She seamlessly integrates Russian historical facts and folklore with fantasy elements to create a culturally rich setting. A place where social classes from peasant to royalty exist alongside the complex and mysterious Grisha. Details bring this world to vivid light.
The characters have depth and passion. They smoothly move through the story. The reader never has to consider throwing their hands in the air and yelling, “You fool!” There were a few times I thought, “Uh oh, something cliche is about to happen,” but was pleasantly surprised when Bardugo sprung something unexpected.
I anxiously await the release of book two of this trilogy. I also want a Kefta of my own. Read the book and you’ll know what I’m talking about.