Shadow and Bone





Warning this review may have spoilers.

(this is the first installment in a trilogy) 

This tale captivates from the first chapter. The world-building is complex. The author has the skill to translate her vision into a gorgeous work of fantasy.

The characters gradually evolve throughout the book, but they do not forget where they started. Which creates a feeling of a balanced arc despite it is just the first book. The storyline has a perfect amount of action, drizzled with laid back moments so that the reader can breathe and contemplate everything that is happening in this book. 

Ravka is a land divided by war and by a barrier of darkness called the Unsea. A mysterious consequence of dark magic in which terrifying creatures lurk, making it hard for anyone to cross it without being torn apart. Until Alina Starkov our main character makes her way into the Shadow Fold, known as the Unsea. 

The contrast between light and darkness is a perfect metaphor for Ying and Yang, good and evil, black and white.  

And for structure analysis this is the threshold when her world turns upside up. Her accidental magical ability is a rare power, one that can be matched only by the Darkling, our main antagonist and the leader of the Grisha. 

So, Alina learns that she is a Grisha (mage/wizard), and that she may be the only one who can save Ravka. However, she doesn’t know how to wield it. Only the Grisha can teach her how to. So, she is secretly forced into the royal palace.

Suddenly thrust into the aristocratic world of the Grisha and Ravka shark infested court politics.  The veil of naivety is torn from Alina’s eyes when she discovers that everyone in the kingdom depends on her and sees her as their savior.

Shadow and Bone is the kind of book that simply makes you visualize the scenes, like watching a movie. We liked the Russian cultural influence in this intriguing tale where magic offers supreme power to those who know how to wield it.

I would give a word of warning to parents with teens. This story contains a couple racy scenes and a realistic love triangle, not extremely explicit but a bit more than most entries in the YA genre. 

However, the plot and pace are well executed. Fans of the young adult genre, young adult fantasy, and fantasy in general will enjoy this series. Even those who don’t typically read things in the YA sphere will find a lot to like in this book; it is technically a young adult novel, but it doesn’t read like one. We are looking forward to the other books in the series.


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