Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
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.
Rating: 3/5 stars
This morning, in my "Fantasy TBR" post, I talked about how I wanted to read Shadow and Bone. And here we are, I finished it! Within a day!
I have mix opinions on this book. I want to say it's great, but I also want to say it's not so great. In the end, I decided to go with it's great. But, it still gets three stars because of the not so great parts. If that made any sense at all. Just stick around and read on. I'll be doing a rundown of all my thoughts.
When I opened this book and started to read, I was sucked in. It immediately captured my attention and I wanted to know more. That rarely happens to me. The first few chapters were fantastic! Things were happening rather quickly and it was climatic. It kept me on the edge of my seat and I just wanted to know what happens next.
As the story went on, as I got further into the book, things started to slow down. And because there wasn't really anything to continue capturing my attention, I started to loose interest. My mind was no longer in the story. Basically, there's this huge chunk of the story I just didn't care about and I don't know why that is so.
It was anti-climatic. The characters and the story started to fall flat for me. I was no longer invested in the story and I didn't care much for the characters. However, for some apparently reason, I still wanted to know what happens next. There's this part of me that burned to continue with the story. So, I did.
There's one thing I have to say though. At this point, I still don't get what the whole Grisha thing is or how the magic system works. I don't really know where the plot is going or what is even happening in the story. All I have is a vague idea of everything.
Toward the end, things started to pick up. But, I still don't really know what's going on. Then again, I still wanted to know what happens next even though I don't know what's going on. Towards the end is really when I started connecting with the story and the characters better. Things started to fall back into place. I have to say, the end really brought the whole story together. There was action, anticipation, tension, everything.
Okay, enough with the rundown. (I hope everything I just mentioned above made sense.) It's time for my overall thoughts and comments.
This whole world was rather interesting and enjoyable to read about. Some aspects of the world and the story really reminded me of Throne of Glass. It was almost like they took that same aspect and interpreted it in a different way. If you enjoyed Throne of Glass, I have a feeling you will enjoy this as well.
One thing I loved about reading this book is that even though I don't really know what's going on (because I'm horrible at paying attention to things), I still wanted to continue, as I have mentioned a lot. I think that was because there were a lot I wanted to know and explore about this world and the magic system. Leigh Bardugo really did a great job in that part.
Another thing. Just from reading this book alone, I am already in love with Leigh Bardugo's writing style. In a way, it's beautiful to read. That was also a big factor that pushed me to finish this book, which I'm glad I did. Leigh Bardugo is also an amazing story teller. Normally, I find reading high fantasy a challenge. But, reading this book was like butter. It was a quick and easy read.
To properly summarise this confusing review, I enjoyed this book. Even though, for me, some parts weren't the best, I still think it's a great book. I can really see myself loving this series, which I will be carrying on with. If I had connected with the story and characters better, it will definitely be a four or five stars read.
But keep in mind, whether or not you connect with a story is a personal thing. Just because I didn't connect with this story like I would want to, doesn't mean you will experience it the same way. I would recommend this book to lovers of the fantasy genre and anybody who is interested in reading a high fantasy.