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on 16 March 2017
Finished the first book in The Grisha series – Smoke and Bone. Although not a particular fan of the MC, Alina, who was too whiny and self-pitying for my liking (Think Fanny Price type from Mansfield Park), the world of Ravka was easy to sink into.

The Kingdom of Ravka was split in two when the shadow fold was created, a terrible swathe of blackness where deadly creatures lurk, killing those who cross its boundaries. We learn quickly about the two types of citizens to Ravka: the ordinary foot-soldiers and the Grisha.

Alina finds herself transported from the ordinary into the Grisha world and attempts to master her newly discovered powers. As well as this, she struggles to leave behind her feelings for her childhood friend, Mal and understand her new feelings for the Darkling, the leader of the Grisha.I found the middle a little lacklustre and my interest waning. Not to mention - Alina seemed to feed into this with constantly telling the reader how tired she is all the time. (An important plot point, I understand, but it grated on me.)

In truth, it is the Darkling who steals the show. It is his complex, conflicted and seductive character that you will find yourself wanting to read more about.
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on 1 October 2014

The country of Ravka was once a prosperous place until the introduction of the shadow fold. A length of darkness that splits the country in two. The shadow fold is home to monstrous creatures like the volcra, that make crossing almost impossible. Orphan Alina Starkov is a member of the army, and chosen to undertake a crossing of the shadow fold. Great casualties are expected but when the regiment is attacked by flying volcra, Alina discovers powers she does not know she possessed, suddenly she could be the answer to all of Ravka’s prayers, but at what cost.


I just loved this book, really I did. It made me want to rush out and read the rest of the series immediately, and I only wish that I could. It’s a beautiful story full of action, romance and magic. The world building in this story is excellent, it’s excellently written, extremely believable with elements of Russian culture. The amount of history, the descriptions Bardugo has created for the kingdom of Ravka is wonderful, it forces you to become completely immersed in the story, and in the land itself.

I love the magical elements of the novel. The grisha are citizens of the country with particular powers - some can summon fire, some can cause your heart to stop beating (eek!) and various other things - the Darkling can summon tendrils of darkness, for example. Children are tested all around the country in hope of finding new Grisha with new powers. They go to school together, and jostle and fight to be the strongest. The chapters in which Alina is training are perhaps some of my favourites, and part of the reason for that is it’s such a hard graft, she is not magically amazing overnight, she has to work and fight and push herself in order to harness her power.

This brings me to the characters, Alina is an interesting character - though she can be a bit whiny and spineless - although the character development is great and she grows out of that. There are so many characters that I love. Genya, the grisha that has a unique power from everyone else - I definitely don’t want to spoil anything so that’s all I’m saying! The darkling is a fabulous character, he’s mysterious and charismatic, you’re constantly trying to guess what his motives are.

It really is a fabulous story - it will keep you hooked right to the very end. I definitely advise you to start this one on a weekend, because you’re not going to want to eat, sleep or move till you reach the end. Definitely one of my favourite books of 2014.
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on 13 July 2014
I'm kind of unsure of how to rate this. I wasn't entirely engrossed in it but I did like it by the end. 3 star, I think.

At the beginning of this I can't say that I saw much of a blooming relationship between Mal and Alina. They'd been friends for years and though Alina liked him romantically, Mal didn't seem to feel the same way.`

That's probably why when the Darkling started to show interest in her that I jumped on ship with it and waited for something to happen. Only when something did, I wasn't entirely convinced by it.

As for the rest of the plot with the Unsea, I found myself getting more into it the closer we got to the end of the book as deception and intrigue came about.

I definitely think it has left me intrigued enough about the outcome of the events following the ending, that I will continue the series at some point.
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on 1 May 2017
Enjoyable quick read
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on 18 May 2017
Really enjoyed this! Can't wait to start the second book. This book was a really well thought out introduction to the world and characters, without being to long winded. The main characters are easy to sympathize with. Highly recommend.
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on 16 June 2017
Really good story. Characters are varied and interesting. The world the author builds is excellent and full of magic. Very engaging read.
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on 2 July 2017
Whilst this novel follows the standard expectations of fantasy fiction, it still provides a compelling read: powerless girl becomes powerful, two love interests and deception. I can't wait to read the next!
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on 30 March 2017
Absolutely brilliant. Loved every second of it. Bardugos writing is beautiful, along with the characters she made, can't wait to read the next.
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on 30 May 2017
Amazing quality and good delivery :)
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on 15 May 2017
Imaginative, intriguing, easy reading - a very enjoyable book.
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