Friday, September 14, 2012

Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo

Title: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Paperback: 356 pages (ARE version)
Publisher: Henry Holt/Macmillan Children's
Published date: June 2012
FTC: Received ARE from Fierce Reads

O my gosh.  People go out and buy/rent/borrow whatever this book.  I have a friend who I recommend a few books now and then -- like Hunger Games, Divergent, Cinder....and I've just added this one to the list.  I just read too that the Harry Potter producer is going to be making this one into a movie for Dreamworks.  So yeah.  You know it's going to be good.  Ms Bardugo, please please write and release the next books in the series soon!

Back of the book:

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 fate may rest on the shoulders of one unlikely 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.

My thoughts:

Ok the first thing you have to know is that this is a YA book.  So while it is an awesome and amazingly fun tale, it's not going to be a book by say George R.R. Martin or Robert Jordan -- although those guys would have done an amazing job at this tale too.  But I love Ms Bardugo's YA spin on the fantasy story which, for all the fantasy elements, keeps you completely rooted in the story and loving every minute of it.

I love Alina's character.  Absolutely adored the realistic way she was portrayed.  I love that there are some awesome YA books out there now with kick butt heroines.  In the story, Alina and Mal were orphaned due to the crazy century old war that's been going on.  Raised together they both joined up with the army.  I couldn't help but think Harry Potter with the orphan story but then it switches almost into Starship Troopers with the characters now facing adulthood and in the army.  So while it's YA these characters aren't children.  Her best friend Mal (how can you not fall for a character named Mal -- thanks Joss Whedon for that one) is just awesome - handsome, charming, takes care of Alina and is completely oblivious to her growing crush on him.  I can't wait to see how these characters come across in a movie.  So while Alina heads off to become developed as a Grisha in what sounds like a Harry Potter "school of magic" kind of way -- I never once felt as if Ms Bardugo was borrowing on any  other stories.  Shadow and Bone was completely well done and an awesome story of its own.

I love the world Ms Bardugo sets up.  It's got the cool (to me) foreignness of Russia a few centuries ago but with all the fun fantasy elements.  There's a feudal air about the whole thing which works perfectly -- especially for me who loves historical fiction.  And while there's a slight learning curve to figure out who all the Grisha are and what the country of Ravka is like -- there is a helpful map and Grisha list. So it's not difficult to figure out.

Head over to Leigh Bardugo's website to find a slew of fun things -- maps, recipes, pronunciation guides, and a bunch of stuff that will be coming up like Swag and Tsarpunk! (how cool does that sound?!).

Extra stuff:

So my version was the ARE version with a totally different cover that they ended up changing to the cool Russian-vibey one above.  Here's mine with the crescent symbol of the Darkling:

I also loved the beautiful decorations in the book.  This is my ARE version so I'm curious to see how the actual book looks like.

Check out the video trailer for the book:

 Also if you head over to the Fierce Reads Facebook page right now they are doing a giveaway of the book, autographed and a bunch of swag.

Also Reviewed By:

Becky's Book Reviews
The Book Nest
I am a Reader, Not a Writer

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