Saturday, 31 May 2014

Book Review: Shadow And Bone; Leigh Bardugo.

I did it! I finished Shadow and Bone in one day! I can't believe I actually managed it, I really thought I was going to have to let two of this month's challenges slide by without completing them. The two challenges I'll be entering this one into are the 'Jumble Your Genres' Challenge (as a Dystopian) and the 'Monthly Key Words' Challenge (for the word 'And'). Buttons for those can be found below this review!

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Shadow And Bone
AUTHOR: Leigh Bardugo
SERIES: The Grisha (#1)
PUBLISHER: Henry Holt & Co.
PAGES: 416
GENRE: High Fantasy, Romance, Dystopian, Young Adult

RATING: 4.5/5 Stars

Blurb:
The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.


But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

What I Liked:
  • Wow so where do I begin with this one? Firstly, I loved the setting to it. The references to Russian culture and I felt like a lot of hard work and research had gone into the world building in this one! And as we all know, world building holds a pretty special place in my heart. It made a nice change from usual settings found within Fantasy books, and managed to both spark faint recognition of certain elements within the book, and still feel like an entirely new place! I could see everything written clearly in my mind's eye and it had me hooked from beginning to end!
  • The characterisation was just fantastic. They were all so well-written, and I really saw development in each and every one of them (for better or for worse). I really liked the relationship between Mal and Alina too, it isn't often that an author gets the pacing of a relationship spot on. It wasn't so quick that it felt unbelievable and yet the romance didn't develop so frustratingly slowly that I was tearing my hair out either. Hats off to Bardugo for keeping them interesting!
  • It really reaffirmed my love for this genre. I have always been a pretty big fan of High Fantasy, and I haven't read a book from the genre for a very long time. Reading this book took me straight back to other books I have read within the genre and loved, such as Tamora Pierce's work or Trudi Canavan's 'The Black Magician' series. It just really made me realise how much I've missed out on within Fantasy and I really commend it for that. I smiled the whole way through reading this book!
What I Disliked:
  • There was a bit of a twist that saw most of the characters I'd become quite attached to suddenly turn into almost unrecognisable characters. Now this wasn't done badly, nor do I think it was a horrible decision. It actually really added something to the plot. But that doesn't mean I have to like finding out that my trust in previous favourite characters was misplaced.
Overall Conclusion:
Wow this book was such a refreshing read and a wonderful final choice for May. The romance was written well, the characters fantastically developed, and the world-building was just gorgeous. It's a relatively short book in comparison to some of the High Fantasy epics that can be found. To be honest though, it felt really nicely paced and this didn't detract from it at all. I can't believe it took me so long to read this one and if anyone else is still taking a while to read it, then I highly recommend they do ASAP!