Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A Book Review of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

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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.

Series: The Grisha Trilogy (Book 1)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Square Fish; 1 edition (May 7, 2013)
Page Count: 416 pages

After finishing Six of Crows, I was returning that book to the library when I came across Shadow and Bone. This was another book on my list and I was very happy not have to wait weeks for it, so I snagged it.

The Plot: I personally enjoyed this plot more than Six of Crows. I really love the heroine discovering her identity and learning how to use her abilities. The plot is very fun and has many fun twists and exciting elements. I was engaged the entire way through.

The Characters: I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Alina is a great character and her power is amazing. I like that she's into cartography, even though briefly. It's a little used interest, but it's very intriguing and very essential for her time period. Mal is really cool. I love that he is a tracker. I love Alina and Mal's bond. It's so precious. The Darkling is also an intriguing character. I enjoyed all of the characters and their different personalities and traits. 

The Setting: This book takes place in Ravka. It's a country that resembles Russia with similar architecture, cuisine, clothing, and more. Russia isn't an often-used country to base a fantasy world on, so this was very cool to see. I love the different cultural elements of the Grisha (magic users), such as the divisions of different sorts of magic like corporealki, heartrenders, healders, squallers, and so on. I also love all of the different accents! The Unsea with all of the freaky volcra is also such  a creative setting.

Epic Things: I love the powers of a sun summoner, being able to create light to drive back darkness. I also love the concept of a collar made out of stag's horns. Not telling what it's for. ;)

The Theme: I think one big one is discovering what you want for life as opposed to what other people want for your life. Alina is torn in many different directions. The soldiers, the Darkling ... But in the Alina has to choose what she wants to do with her life and what she believes is right. 

Content Cautions: There is some intense kissing and mention of people sleeping together. There is some violence, mostly with the volcra and how they take away people. That mostly happens at the beginning and end of the book. There is some swearing, including three usages of a***, two usages of h***, and one of ba****d.

What We Can Take Away For Our Writing:

1.) A Characters's Profession or Hobby Can Make Her/Him See the World Differently - Alina is a cartographer, so when she enters a new landscape she surveys it like a cartographer. She even marks out where things are in her head.

How this can be applied to writing: How does your characters' profession or interest define how they see the world and how you describe things in their point of view?

Conclusion: I really enjoyed this book. It was a fun story in such a fun setting. Four stars!

About the Author:
Leigh Bardugo is the #1 New York Times bestselling and USA Today bestselling author of Six of Crows and the Grisha Trilogy (Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising). She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and most recently, makeup and special effects. These days, she lives and writes in Hollywood where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.

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