fantasy · Reviews

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

4.5 Hoots

An enchanting novel that will pull you right into the world of the Grisha.

I actually received this a while ago as a gift from my sister but it was not until recently that I had the pleasure of reading this book. Honestly, I am super excited to read the rest of the series now. This book just hits all the right fantasy notes for me. You have a beautiful world full of magic and mythical creatures. You have an unlikely hero, and the classic battle of good versus evil… that portion of the book was the most interesting because not everything was as it seemed.

There were many elements in this book that really drew me in. The first being that this really drew from Russian lore! I love reading books that give us a different background than what we are used to. I lead character, Alina, was your average run of the mill young woman who was just average at everything in her life. She was an orphan, she wasn’t exactly great at anything, and there wasn’t even anything particularly special about her appearance. For all intents and purposes she is just not special. I love that!! I hate when a character is just all powerful or perfect. Give me the underdog! I think that is why following her story was so interesting. You saw her struggle to find who she is and figure out that she actually is special and that she can make a difference.

In this book there is tons of magic and a class system. There is a giant rift of Darkness in there world with literal monsters in it that needs to be stopped, and Alina is the only one that can stop this rift because of a power she never knew she had! She gets pulled into the world of Grisha’s who are training her to battle and then the main Grisha begins to show a romantic interest in her….now don’t worry the romance is NOT a huge part of this story. Anyway, for her to be able to amplify the power she has trouble controlling they decide to find and kill this magical creature and take it’s antler as a magical totem for her. Well, in my opinion that is where the real story begins. This is when you start questioning who are the real good guys and who aren’t. Who actually wants to save the kingdom and who wants to destroy it.

Overall, this book was very enjoyable. It had moments that genuinely surprised me, and had moments that kept me guessing. This book focused on some topics that I think many people can relate to such as wanting to fit in, the desire to love and be loved, and the inner battle to fight and stand up for what you believe is right. One of my favorite parts of the book was when (sorry for the vagueness but I don’t want to spoil it) the authors shows that Alina’s biggest strength was her compassion and because of that the entire course of the war has changed. Did the ending tie everything up into a neat bow? No, it leaves you wanting to grab the next book and start reading. Why did it only get 4.5 hoots instead of 5? Just because some of the parts were slow and I hated that she had this major focus on how plain she was and how beautiful everyone else was. But at the same time, it did show some of her vulnerability and insecurity. She believes all of these things about her, but they are not necessarily true. This book has a lot of great elements to it and I really recommend it.

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