I was a bit under the weather yesterday, so you’ll get 2 posts today instead of just one.
Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone (the first book of her Grisha trilogy) is one of those books that I hesitated to read simply because I had heard too much hype about it. I didn’t feel it could possibly live up to the initial reviews. Then I got to meet Leigh Bardugo when she came to Kansas City for the Fierce Reads tour. She’s funny–I laughed myself to tears pretty much throughout the evening–and was just so genuine and kind to her fans there.
The Grisha series is set in Ravka, a fictional world based loosely on the culture of Imperial Russia. Basically, it’s its own world with its own rules. I have seen some highly critical reviews by people furious with differences between Ravka culture and actual Russian culture. As a student of Russian, I understand the gripes, but I still allow for dramatic license in fictional worldbuilding, so those details really didn’t bother me much. I loved the atmosphere Bardugo creates with Ravka.
Ravka is a land divided by the Fold, a large swath of magical darkness filled with nightmarish creatures. Our main character, Alina, and her fellow orphan and best friend Mal are serving in the army as the novel starts. Their regiment is attacked as they begin to cross the Fold, and Alina unleashes a magical power she never knew she had. Then the story really begins, as Alina becomes part of the Grisha, the magically-gifted force under the leadership of the mysterious man known as the Darkling. The Darkling alone is reason enough to read the series, as he is seductive, powerful, and incredibly dangerous. Alina’s attraction to him is undeniable, but so is her fear of his magic and the secrets he keeps.
While it took me a bit to get into this one, once I did I practically devoured the rest of the book. I will definitely be reading the rest of the series very soon.