Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Series: The Grisha Trilogy, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Lush, beautiful, and utterly riveting, Shadow and Bone was an amazing adventure with a wonderful cast of deeply layered characters: namely the main character, Alina, her soldier, Mal, and the mysterious Darkling.
Alina is a nobody--an orphan raised to become a soldier for the country of Ravka. Her life is simple, fighting for her country, risking her life by facing the Shadow Fold, and trying to deny her feelings for her best friend, Mal. But that all changes on a mission when a mysterious light explodes from inside Alina--identifying her as The Sun Summoner, savior of the country, the stuff of legend. She is then thrust into a world of royal intrigue, and becomes the pet of the mysterious, seductive Darkling--and Alina must figure out who she can trust and find the strength to control her own destiny.
What I enjoyed:
-Alina--slowly gaining confidence throughout the novel as she gains control of her power
-Mal, her best friend and one of the best soldiers in the country's forces
-The Darkling, and the way he was mysterious and beautiful, and his slippery way of acting
-The integration of Russian culture in the novel
-The mythology, and the way the magic was integrated so easily into the novel
-The way the world seemed so believable
What I didn't enjoy:
But I'm picking at straws--this novel is absolutely beautiful, a wonderful treat worth savoring, especially for those who like magic, mystery, and adventure. It was a complete joy to read and I enjoyed it so much, I couldn't put it down! Next on deck: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes!