Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

ImageI finished reading Shadow and Bone about a week ago and might be a little fuzzy on the details, but I needed to let this story rest for a while before I could talk about it. I absolutely devoured this book, I read it in basically one sitting and on the same night I bought it I was already looking for the next one. That’s not to say it was perfect, but I’ll definitively pick up the next one.

“It’s such an honor to finally meet the Sun Summoner.”

Shadow and Bone is about an orphan called Alina Starkov who, together with her best friend Mal, is a soldier at the First Army. While crossing what is known as the Shadow Fold, a dark and impenetrable place with creatures that eat human flesh, she unknowingly saves everyone by displaying Grisha abilities. Soon she’s swept away into this glamorous and mysterious world that is the Grisha world or, how they are also called, the Second Army. But this elite magical people hide many secrets and Alina has to deal with them all, including her dangerous attraction to their leader: the Darkling.

Let me start by saying that what first drew me to it was the cover, all that black and red and gray that becomes white; I just had to pick it up. But this book also has an impressive world building, and that it was always shown rather than told. It definitively gets points for that. I really liked the contrast between everyone else and the Grisha: we get to see the First Army (a more traditional army) which is disciplined and not at all luxurious and then the Grisha, who live on a palace beside the King’s and wear fine fabrics.

The hair rose on my arms. I had the same feeling I’d had as we were crossing the canal, the sense of crossing the boundary between two worlds.

I can’t say too much about the Darkling because that way lays some major spoilers, but while I never liked him much personality wise I have to admit I wavered between wanting him to be good and wanting him to be bad. Court life didn’t interest me very much, I preferred to hear about the army and fights, but there was some important plot development going on there that kept me reading.

One of the things I loved about this book was the names. Everything has beautiful Russian-like names and that’s one of my favorite languages. It gave Ravka, Alina’s fictional homeland, a foreign feel to me. Made everything more magical, since it’s not a language I hear much here in Brazil. Another was the different point of view she gave the prologue and the epilogue, going from first person to third, it set the ethereal feel of the whole book that much higher.

“Goed morgen, fentomen!” a deckhand shouts to them as he passes by, his arms full of rope.

All the ship’s crew call them fentomen. It is the Kerch word for ghosts.

That’s pretty much it from what I remember. One of the problems of letting a story steam too long is that I end up forgetting some of the details I wanted to talk about, but I think I covered most of what caught my attention.

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