Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Book: Shadow and Bone (Grisha, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

As promised in my last post, I finally started reading Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Series. This is also set in the Grishaverse, the same universe where Six of Crows and it's sequel, Crooked Kingdom, were set. The Grisha series was technically written and published before the Six of Crows duology so note that I really did this backwards. If you are like me who the read SoC first, be careful of Crooked Kingdom for it has several spoilers for this trilogy.

Anyway, back to the main agenda of this post, my thoughts on Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
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 tained 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.
Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy.
(via Goodreads)

Leigh Bardugo did it again. I was a fan then (SoC duology) and I am fan still now. The world building is still exquisite. Since I had an introduction to the Grishaverse far earlier (Zoya! Genya! hurrah for familiar faces!) than I should have, it was not really hard to imagine most of it -- but to go deeper into their histories and fabled world is still such a thrill to behold. I read this for the Darkling but now I am sure I am continuing this not just because of him - this book took my breath away.

Leigh presented another badass heroine: Alina Strakov. I keep thinking how beautifully she named her characters and Alina Starkov sounds like someone who would do great things to change the world. Shadow and Bone was told through her point of view, and she took us with her through her journey in discovering this world and herself. She was unsure and insecure for most of the book but even those parts, I enjoyed. Maybe it's the way she presents her stories. She's human, relatable. And certainly interesting.

Aaaaaand, this post won't ever be complete without me rambling about the Darkling. He was an interesting villain -- and I can see why almost everyone are giving a nod to the Darkling for Red Queen's Maven Calore. The Darkling's presence on page is mesmerizing, for some reason. The first time he appeared on page, I figured I'll be all over him -- and I was not wrong. He was intense and mysterious - plus he could summon the darkness. (I'm not really sure why they didn't even consider him a villain at the onset with that ability but yeah~) When it comes to him, my imagination becomes overly active: I kept imagining every little thing he does - the way he moves, the way he speaks, and even his expressions. His flickering smiles killed me. And everytime he ran his hands through his hair or over his neck, I lose my mind. I can't blame Alina for everything. I know it's wrong but it's hard to resist the PULL.

On the other hand, I can't make myself warm up to Alina's friend and supposedly, the love of her life: Mal. Maybe because their love story is 'normal'? Maybe because it was too predictable? Or maybe I just have a thing with villains. LOL Anyway, I hope I could warm up to him in the coming books because I think what they have will be ship that takes off in the long run.

Leigh managed to create this unique and magical world, filled with mysteries, intrigues and even politics. Also, this is loosely based in the Imperial Russian setting and that certainly added another twist to the story. I was in a roller coaster of emotion all throughout and this book occupied my thoughts even when I am at work. From all time high, to all time low - Leigh Bardugo managed to get my attention every single chapter. The plot twists were awesome and ones I didn't really expect and, hey, it takes so much to surprise me these days. I am a fan of slow-burns: of chapters teeming with anticipation and promise, those with things that linger in the shadows only to show themselves at the right moment for impact. I really love this book to bits and I should've read this a long time ago. Definitely, definitely recommended!

Read the first chapter here: CLICK HERE.
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5 stars)

If you follow me on Twitter, here's my Shadow and Bone Reaction Thread: CLICK HERE.

Quotable Quotes:

"I wonder sometimes how much we really understand our own gifts," he mused.

"There is something more powerful than any army. something strong enough to topple kings and even Darklings. Do you know what that things is?" [...] "Faith," he breathed, his black eyes wild. "Faith."

"There's nothing wrong with being a mapmaker." "Of course not. And there's nothing wrong with being a lizard either. unless you were born to be a hawk."

"Do you think the world cares if you do your best? Do it again and do it right."

"The problem with wanting is that it makes us weak."

This is the 7th book I've read this year -- and this has been part of my 2017 Reading Challenge. #Bookworm2017

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