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The Grisha: Shadow and Bone: Book 1 Paperback – 6 Jun 2013
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Mesmerizing ... shiver-inducing, of the delicious variety. This is what fantasy is for (Laini Taylor, author of DAUGHTERS OF SMOKE AND BONE NEW YORK TIMES)
A New York Times bestseller, it's like The Hunger Games meets Potter meets Twilight meets Lord Of The Rings meets Game Of Thrones; basically epic magical fantasy but completely for grown-ups. (STYLIST)
When I closed the covers of this book, late at night, I drifted into a vivid dream bursting with midnight blue keftas and beautiful - but blinding - white light. Leigh Bardugo is a master storyteller, who draws you into her richly-imagined world and refuses to release you... even after you've turned the last page. Shadow and Bone has occupied my thoughts - day and night - ever since I began it (FEED ME BOOKS NOW)
I can use one word to describe this book and that is "powerful". Powerful because it's original. Powerful because it's eye catching. Powerful because it makes you feel all the emotions that are mentioned in the English dictionary. And powerful because it's made me have a whole new outlook and something to look forward to in the future of YA. (DARKREADERS)
Shadow and Bone is YA fantasy exactly how I like it: deep, epic and full of action and adventure. I fell in love with the story when I was only a few chapters in, and the many twists and turns that followed kept me hooked right until the end. I'm really glad I read this book and I'm even more glad that I have the sequel sat waiting for me. I have no idea where Leigh Bardugo is going with her story, but I can't wait to find out. Read this if you're a fan of fantasy - you won't be disappointed! (WONDROUS READS)
Overall, I loved everything about this book, with there being some seriously unexpected plot twists that kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. I could hardly put this book down, and am thoroughly looking forward to reading the following books in the trilogy. My only slight complaint is that the book was too short, I wanted more to read! (BOOK CHICK CITY)
This book really hooked me, I read it for hours on end just letting the magical story come to life in my mind, it was incredible and I LOVED IT!... The Gathering Dark is a very unique book which will leave you wanting more... it is one of the best books I've ever read. (Read, Write and Read Some More)
....Brilliantly written and truly spellbinding (MIGMAG)
The world building is slow, subtle and full. You get a really good idea of the court, and the way the magical society works. It's impossible to place exactly in time and location, but I still really enjoyed it. (DEATH, BOOKS AND TEA)
There is so much to love about this book... Leigh Bardugo knows her stuff. The pacing is superb, the climax is faultless, and the immaculate blend of fantasy, action and romance really did make this book 'unputdownable'. (REALM OF FICTION)
Lonely orphan Alina discovers a power that could be the key to saving her kingdom. But can she trust the seductive, powerful Darkling? And what about Mal, the childhood best friend she can't quite forget? Irresistible. Epic. This is glorious sweeping fantasy and the romance to end all romances.See all Product description
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Shadow and Bone is the opening novel of Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy, a work of fantasy that is both familiar and different. Its core story, of a young woman who discovers she has powers and different forces in the world want to use or abuse those powers, is pretty standard. The setting, which borrows elements from Russian history and geography, is certainly unusual for the fantasy genre although not completely unique (The Secret History of Moscow by Ekaterina Sedia and Wolfhound Century by Peter Higgins are recent genre works influenced by Russian culture and mythology).
Shadow and Bone has a number of negatives which I'll get out of the way first. It's pretty standard fare. Traditional fantasy tropes are deployed and explored with some flourishes, but no real originality. It's entirely possible you will predict every plot twist well ahead of time. The main character, Alina, is an orphan who turns out to have amazing powers. There's an unrequieted romance, a heated rivalry with a jealous, more aristocratic fellow student and a dangerous, spark-filled relationship with an older man. There's also scenes of Alina learning the arts of magic from an older mentor who deploys pithy sayings and unconventional teaching methods to get spectacular results. There are desperate betrayals, daring escapes in the night and magical battles. And so forth. Depending on how much traditional fantasy you have read in your life, you may not have a huge amount of time for yet more of the same.
But if Shadow and Bone is mostly standard and familiar fare, it is very well-written standard fare, delivered with pace and excitement. The Grisha, a magical order set up like an army with chains of command and different forces and disciplines within its ranks, is an original and memorable creation and the interaction between the different orders is quite well-established. The Shadow Fold is also an unsettling creation and the nature of the creatures within it (the volcra) is disturbing. The different types of Grisha and their abilities are set up but in this first novel we haven't seen too much of what they can do, which hopefully later volumes will rectify.
Characterisation is mostly strong, with Alina making for a likeable heroine and the Darkling (despite his emo name) an interesting and multi-faceted character. Most intriguing is Genya, a Grisha with an apparently limited skill (making people appear more attractive) which she deploys to strong effect. I get the impression she has an interesting story to tell and hopefully she will be more prominent in later volumes, along with her low-key love interest, David. Less interesting is Alina's unrequieted love, Mal, who is a pretty standard hunky soldier with elite tracking skills and limited personality, but hopefully he will develop more in later volumes.
Shadow and Bone (****) won't be winning awards for originality, but it does tell its story with verve and vigour, building up to an explosive climax. It's a very short novel (360 pages in paperback, but with a fairly genrous font size) but will leave you wanting to jump into the sequel, Siege and Storm, straight away.
Alina is nothing but a lowly cartographer until she demonstrates an incredible power and The Darkling, leader of the army called the Grisha, takes her under his wing and into a world she could only dream of. However the Shadow Fold is trying to take over the land and Alina's power is needed to combat it.
I really liked that this had a Russian setting, you don't see that often, it brings something different to the table. The world building is so good, you really get a feel for the political climate of the country of Ravka and the Grisha.
Alina being a cartographer was a really unusual, it was good to see a different job than the standard kind of army stuff you see in books like this. On top of that it shows that there are important jobs that aren't physical, that to have a good female lead they don't always have to be all singing, all dancing fighters.
I loved The Darkling and how charming he was as a character. You're really swept up into his personality but also at the back of your mind you know something isn't quite right with him. That also makes the love triangle more captivating than normal, it's not your standard "who do you prefer" because you know that something is off.
On the whole I'm intrigued to see where the rest of the novel goes, it wasn't perfect, there was the occasional bit that felt formulaic, but I have no idea where the rest of it is going to go and the writing is so easy to read and enjoy.
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This book was everything I hoped it would be, I’ve heard a lot of good things about Leigh Bardugo but haven’t had the chance to read anything until now.Read more