I’ve been dying to read Leigh Bardugo’s SHADOW & BONE for a very long time. Then I saw the cover and map art and wanted to read it even more. I am so fortunate to have gotten my hands on this novel early, because oh my, is it stunning. The nation of Ravka is surrounded by enemies and split in half by the Shadow Fold, a swarming darkness filled with monsters that makes it nearly impassable. Alina, after revealing a dormant power that could be the key to freeing Ravka of this darkness, is taken into custody and trained as a Grisha (Ravka’s magical elite).
The story is well-paced, the characters believable, and the writing lovely. But what I really fell for was the world. The clothes and culture and architeture and landscapes and food and language and Oh My Gosh. This novel felt like a cross between Plain Kate and The Golden Compass. I want to wander through Ravka’s domed palaces and wear a kefta and march on the Shadow Fold (even if that is an extremely dangerous feat). It doesn’t hurt that I want to spend some more time with Mal, either (Alina’s best friend who grew up with her in her childhood orphanage).
This novel feels so very different than everything out there right now. And that’s a good thing. I can’t wait for book two because I desperately want to slip back into this beautiful, rugged, captivating world.
Originally reviewed here