ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Leigh Bardugo is an Israeli-born American author. She graduated from Yale University with a degree in English. Before kicking off her career as an author, Bardugo worked in copywriting, journalism, make-up, and special effects.
She is the creator of The Grishaverse, which includes the Grisha trilogy, the Six Crows duology, and the King of Scars series. Bardugo also authored Ninth House, which was later adapted for a popular Netflix series. She also writes short stories and essays.
Leigh Bardugo is also part of the band Captain Automatic.
Shadow and Bone is based on the fictitious country of Ravka (inspired by erstwhile Russia) and its neighbors. The Kingdom of Ravka is divided by the mysterious, dangerous shadow fold that was created long back by a dark Grisha. Grishas are people who can manipulate natural elements like wind and fire, and use them at their will.
Narrated in first person by the Sun Summoner Grisha, Alina Starkov, the story begins when Alina and her best friend, Mal Oretsev, both orphans, travel through the fold while working with the first army as a cartographer and a tracker respectively. During the expedition, the entire group is ambushed by the Volcras, the inhabitants of the fold. During the battle that ensues, Alina discovers that she can control light. Her rare powers bring her to the attention of the Grisha leader, the Darkling.
Alina is separated from Mal as the Darkling takes her to the capital, Os Alta, to train her. He tells her that their combined power can destroy the fold and that Ravka will be reunited. However, Alina soon realizes that things are not what they seem. She is forced to decide what she must do with her power and whom she must trust.
WHAT WE LIKED ABOUT SHADOW AND BONE
Bardugo has created three especially strong characters in Shadow and Bone – Alina, Mal, and the Darkling, all three with unique personalities. None of the characters are straightaway black and white. In fact, their flaws are what make them so perfect.
Inspired by the time when Czars ruled Russia, the author has interwoven a bewitching world. What really stands out about the novel is just how effortlessly she has blended science with magic.
The fast-paced plot is enough to keep the most demanding readers hooked to the end. The book is an irresistible combo of romance, magic and, of course, action. The climax is a real cliffhanger and keeps the readers on the edge of their seats.
WHAT WE DID NOT LIKE ABOUT SHADOW AND BONE
While propelled by strong individual characters and a solid story line, Shadow and Bone has a relatively predictable plot. One can almost make out which side which character is on. It also does not take a detective brain to tell how a character will behave in a given situation.
That said, the story has an unmistakable aura of mystery about it, which is what makes Shadow and Bone such a good read.
He knew the look of a man defending his home with nothing but a rock in his hand.
I’m sorry it took me so long to see you, Alina. But I see you now.
The Darkling slumped back in his chair. “Fine,” he said with a weary shrug. “Make me your villain.
Shadow and Bone is a real thrill-a-minute ride with realistic characters caged in a fantasy world. While a recommended read for readers of all tastes, it is almost criminal for aficionados of fantasy literature to skip this one.
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