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.
When a book receives nothing but glowing reviews from across the world, you know you have to sit up and pay attention. Thankfully my fellow book bloggers were right – this book is amazing. I went on a cruise holiday back in August and I took this book with me as part of my holiday reads. If you’ve ever been on a cruise you will know that there is ALWAYS something going on and tons to do but you know what? I could. Not. Put. This. Book. Down. Gone were the ornate surroundings and the call of the buffet as big as a small country, the world fell away whilst I entered a new world. The world of Shadow and Bone (or The Gathering Dark if you’re in the UK).
After reading, I can hardly believe that Shadow and Bone is a DEBUT NOVEL and I’m super impressed with the story, the world building and the ideas behind everything. A lot of it is Russian sounding and I’m guessing that inspiration was taken from folklore. Shadow and Bone is a fantasy novel and I loved everything about it, especially how the romance was very much secondary to the story but still important. Alina and Mal are orphans who grew up together and what started as a brother/sister bond became so much stronger. Separated by fate, Alina is in trouble and Mal (one of the most gifted trackers in Ravka) is the only one who can find her but he’ll have to face the Darkling, who has his own reasons for wanting to keep Alina close.
The idea behind the Darkling fascinates me and I really liked the way that he was feared one minute but through his interactions with Alina, we saw a very human side to him. I’ve always liked the idea of light and dark and the balance between them. In some ways, I believe the Darkling is not evil and that HE believes he is doing the right thing by bringing about much needed change for his war torn country. The idea of Grisha’s is equally as fascinating and whilst not everything is clear to me at this point, I got the general gist. All children are tested for Grisha abilities and the magical elite are to be treasured, especially by the Darkling it would seem.
Shadow and Bone (The Gathering Dark) is a truly great book that wowed me into ignoring a bloody great big cruise ship containing four and half thousand passengers. Now THAT’s impressive. This is one of my favourite books of the year and I can’t wait to read more from this promising series. Siege and Storm will be released in 2013.
Shadow and Bone/The Gathering Dark was published on 17th May, 2012 in the UK and 5th June, 2012 in the US. To find out more about Leigh Bardugo and her books, please click here to visit her website.
US Book Trailer
UK Book Trailer