Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, the one thing she could rely on was her best friend and fellow refugee, Mal. And lately not even that seems certain. Drafted into the army of their war-torn homeland, they’re sent on a dangerous mission into the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh.
When their convoy is attacked, all seems lost until Alina reveals a dormant power that not even she knew existed. Ripped from everything she knows, she is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. He believes she is the answer the people have been waiting for: the one person with the power to destroy the Fold.
Swept up in a world of luxury and illusion, envied as the Darkling’s favorite, Alina struggles to fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But as the threat to the kingdom mounts, Alina uncovers a secret that sets her on a collision course with the most powerful forces in the kingdom. Now only her past can save her . . . and only she can save the future.
Have you heard of Shadow and Bone before? I bet you have! Were you also a little wary about the hype surrounding this book? I know we have – whenever a book is hyped so much and praised so much I’m a little scared to read it… but… do not fear – because – it deserved every praise! Today, we have also a special review for you guys since Pushy and I joined forces to tell you about this exciting book!
So, Pushy! Why did you pick up Shadow and Bone and what did you expect from it?
Pushy: Because I live under a rock, I had not heard about this book before it came out and found myself learning about it from the author herself when I attended a book signing for the Fierce Reads tour. You may remember this book signing, dear Danny, as I got to meet your one true love, Anna Banks, there. 🙂 Anyway, Leigh Bardugo not only impressed me by her enthusiasm for her book and her story behind how she thought it up, she completely hooked me with the fact that it’s based loosely on Russian tsarist era (hello? LOVE!) and on her descriptions of how her career as a makeup artist in LA influenced her character building. How anyone walked away from that signing not interested in this book, I just don’t know!
How did you hear about the book, Danny?
Danny: How could I have not heard of it? It was all over the Blogging world and everything was raving about it… it was actually hard to mis…
Let’s talk about the world building, shall we?
Danny: Whenever reading fantasy I am fascinated by the creative mind of the author. To create a new world full of new rules where basically you can make up anything just because you wish to. The Grisha world is phenomenally rich and full of magic! The Grisha are those who are magically talented and they are treated like rock stars in this world. They hold all the power and have all the wealth to live a glorious life. But, they are also soldiers for the king.
Pushy: I completely agree with you on loving fantasy and how rich and full this world Ms. Bardugo constructed is! I love the back story about the Shadow Fold, how the reader’s and Alina’s understanding grows throughout the book. I also loved all the details about court life and the role of the Grisha. They are rock stars. But they’re also a bit like birds in a gilded cage….beautiful but completely under the control of the King. And then there’s the Darkling and his history….there’s a lot that was laid out in this book and so much I’m dying to learn more about in the next!
The story is told from Alina’s POV. How would you describe Alina and how did you like her?
Danny: I loved that Alina seemed like a normal girl. She was not utterly and perfectly brave, but she showed enough strength when she needed it. She was not without flaws, but that made her very genuine. I truly liked her, she was a great heroine who grew so much during this story!
Pushy: “She was not without flaws” LOL!!!!! Alina’s such a crab-ass!!!! It’s like her inner self is some 80 year old man who walks around the house in his underware and black knee high socks complaining how nothing is as good as it was back in his day and how the neighborhood kids need to get off of his lawn. AND I LOVED THIS ABOUT HER!!!!!
Danny: Holy freaking Cow – did you just said: “Her inner self is some 80 year old man who walks around the house in his underware and black knee high socks complaining how nothing is as good as it was back in his day and how the neighborhood kids need to get off of his lawn” – Now.. I am dying here!!! Sorry to interrupt.. but did you really wrote that? OMG ..lool
Pushy: Alina’s complicated, so filled with self doubt that I don’t think she’s ever spent a comfortable day in her own skin. Then her world is completely upended and she’s brought to the court where life is so surreal, it’s amazing she can cope at all. Through it all though, she remains herself and I honestly loved her from page one so I was happy that her experiences allowed her to grow but not change who she truly was.
Let’s come to the most delicious part: The Darkling! *swoons*
Danny: Seriously, he was the most complex, most fascinating and most awesome character! He’s the type of man I fall for in literature, mysterious strong, powerful and … sexy! He totally captured me and intrigued me…
Pushy: *fans herself* The Darkling is hot…superhot…SUPERNOVA HOT!!!!! He’s so powerful and mysterious and has just the right hint of vulnerability that I was completely swooning over him from the start. And I completely imagined him as a Johnny Depp sort of dark character.
Who did you picture for him, Danny?
Danny: Oh god Pushy did you just throw Johnny Depp inside this conversation?!? Hm, do I picture the Darkling? I found this image on Leigh’s homepage .. and OMG.. this is so him!
We are both romantic at heart and need a good romance, did we find this here, what do you think?
Danny: Yes, we did get romance and a quite complex one I might add. Because on top of having this mysterious man called The Darkling, we also have Alina’s childhood friend in the picture.. Does this seems like a Love Triangle..
Pushy: Yes!!! And best of all we got a complicated romance where there are no easy answers and I loved both men. This is going to be one hell of a ride for Alina’s heart and I’m just rubbing my greedy paws together imagining what’s next for her!
What did you enjoy most about Shadow and Bone?
Danny: Definitely, the complexity and richness of the world. It was phenomenally set with a mysterious landscape, dark and light magic to round of this fantastic world. The storyline was amazing, getting to know the world, following Alina on her path to become a Grisha and the mystery surrounding Alina and The Darkling! I was mesmerized!
Pushy: The world is amazing but for me it was the characters, hands down. This world is populated with amazingly rich characters and Ms. Bardugo illuminates them so fully that I felt so often that I was there, in the book with them.
Which leads to the question, who was your favorite secondary character?
Pushy: Genya!!!!! Fabulously beautiful and nearly enslaved at the court, this Grisha has a lot more to her than meets the eye. Plus her unrequited love for David, a fellow Grisha who is so involved in his work that he can’t see the insanely gorgeous woman who’s practically throwing herself at him, allows us to see so much more of the complicated underpinnings of this character that I loved ever scene she was in. Genya seriously threatens to steal the show in this book and I adored her!
Most important questions: Would you recommend Shadow and Bone… and will you read the sequel?
Pushy: You’re joking, right??? Anyone who hasn’t read this needs to do so immediately. Download it now to your phone, folks, and start reading! You’ll suck this bad boy down in a matter of hours, it’s truly that compelling. And sequel, um…YES PLEASE NOW PLEASE PRETTY PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Danny: OMG yes on both accounts! Everyone who loved a rich story with mysterious characters set in a fantasy world needs to read this book! Truly! And yes I know I will read the sequel the minute it comes out! I cannot wait to find out more about Alina, the Grisha’s and.. *swoon* The Darkling!
If you want to know more about this series, please visit Leigh Bardugo’s website, you will find a lot of additional info, pronunciation guide, maps and other fun stuff!
You must watch thus trailer of epic awesomness!
Much love and … get lost in a book…