The servants called them malenchki, little ghosts, because they were the smallest and the youngest, and because they haunted the Duke’s house like giggling phantoms, darting in and out of rooms, hiding in cupboards to eavesdrop, sneaking into the kitchen to steal the last of the summer peaches.

Shadow and Bone is an interesting fantasy novel set in a world called Ravka similar to Russia in terms of language, climate, and landscape. Alina Starkov is the main character, a foot soldier in the wars with her friend Mal. They’re sent on a mission into the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness that cuts across the land, which is filled with monsters. But Alina reveals a strange power that she did know about: she conjures a mysterious beam of light in the Fold which drives away all the monsters. She is whisked away to become a Grisha, one of the magical elite led by the enigmatic Darkling. He believes that only she can destroy the Fold. But there are many secrets that Alina will discover-dangerous secrets.

I’ve got mixed feelings about this fantasy novel. I loved the world it’s set in; the Grisha are interesting and I liked that it was like Russia. Shadow and Bone took a surprising turn though, one that I didn’t expect at all. It was certainly an intriguing twist, but I must say, I was totally shocked. Really. I didn’t expect it at all.

And there’s the love triangle (of course.) I did not like it that much. First Alina loves Mal, then she falls (stupidly) in love with the Darkling, and then Mal again, and so on. But I enjoyed Bardugo’s writing style a lot, and managed to get past that. I’m even tempted to give it 5 stars, but I think it gets 4.5 stars.

I did enjoy the rest of the book, which was pretty suspenseful, and I look forward to reading the sequel, which I’m sure will have an equal number of surprising turns. You can read Veronica Roth’s endorsement of it here (her blurb is on the cover), and Becky’s review here.

Read Shadow and Bone:

  • if you like fantasy
  • if you are interested in books set in Russia-ish settings

356 pages.

 
Very Good! I would recommend this book!
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