79. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

It has only taken me six months to get around to reading this series. I have wanted to read it for a while but was weary of the hype surrounding it. In my experience I usually don’t get on well with hyped books but I reminded myself to read this with an open mind and give it a chance.

Synopsis (as taken from Amazon) is as follows:

Soldier. Summoner. Saint. Orphaned and expendable, Alina Starkov is a soldier who knows she may not survive her first trek across the Shadow Fold – a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. But when her regiment is attacked, Alina unleashes dormant magic not even she knew she possessed.

Now Alina will enter the lavish world of royalty and intrigue as she trains with the Grisha, her country’s magical military elite – and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes Anna can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war-ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift.

As the threat to the kingdom mounts and Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she loves and the very future of a nation.

Welcome to Ravka…a world of science and superstition where nothing is what it seems.

Ability to read – It was easy to get into this book. It’s a story that is captivating and demands focus. I read at a slightly slower pace than I would usually but that is because the world is complex and uses different words. The map was helpful and something I used throughout reading to help keep track of where I was and what was happening.

Characterisation – The characters were strong and kept me guessing – as any good character should. Alina showed many sides of her character during this first installment and I found myself siding with her character quite early on. She seemed realistic and flawed. She wasn’t perfect and didn’t view herself as such. The dynamic between Alina and Mal was very rewarding to see. It’s clear to see the ties between them and how they have survived the world together. The Darkling was moe tricky and someone I’ll reserve judgement on for now.

Visualisation – I was given plenty of detail and description to be able to paint a clear vision of the world, the characters, and how they interacted together. I found some of the scene changes to be quite fast paced but I was able to understand them and visualise them accordingly. My imagination grew with each page read and I am confident in what I visualised matching what I was reading.

Uniqueness – There is so much hyper surrounding this series and that’s the reason I put off reading it for so long. Having finished the first installment, I am in two minds. In the first mind, I enjoyed this book, connected with the characters and became invested in the story. In the other mind, I’m frustrated that this plot reminds me of so many other stories that came before and I worry it’ll follow the same generic structure seen in many YA fantasy series.

Star rating – ★★★★

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