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Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Review: Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Release Date: June 5th 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 368
Source: For review

Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, all she’s ever been able to rely on is her best friend and fellow refugee, Mal. And lately not even that seems certain. Drafted into the army of their war-torn homeland, they’ve been sent on a dangerous mission into the Fold, a swath of 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. She is torn from everything she knows and 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 that she is the answer the people have been waiting for: the Sun Summoner. Only her power can destroy the Fold.

Overwhelmed by luxury, envied as the Darkling’s favorite, Alina struggles to keep her wits about her without Mal by her side. But nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her mastery of her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha—and the secrets of her heart.
Gorgeous cover? Check. The monstrous hype? Check.  Slave girl turned a saint with powers? Check. Love interest who's also the best friend? Check. <-- Do you see? All these signs point that I will love, no, DEVOUR this book..... Argh. Imagine my disappointed when it failed to wow me. *cries* 

I never really connected with the main character Alina. Sure, she wasn't whiny, or needy, but there was something about her that I didn't like. Meh. There were also times when I thought that Alina was trying too hard. Like Bardugo was trying too hard (and failing) to make her heroine more kick-ass. As if we don't already have enough of that  in the YA genre. (Don't get me wrong, I love all the Katniss, the Tris, the Rose, but this one just wasn't working for me.)

The romance was also something that I wasn't really happy about. In the beginning, it was amazing, but since the love interest didn't show up again until near the end, it didn't left time for his character to develop fully, and the transition to them being best friends to lovers was something that I found too quick. (That's not a spoiler by the way - it's blatantly pointed out in the summary)

So. The names. And places. And terms. And basically everything else. Jeez. What I really loathe in fantasy novels, is when the author introduces so many new word terms and places and stuff that I just found myself so overwhelmed and not knowing what the fudge is going on or what it is. Seriously. I gave up trying to understand, so I just went along. One of my biggest book peeves ever. 

The twist near the end was definitely something that I loved and one of the many things that I gave this two butterflies instead of one. If that thing didn't happen, then this would have  a fail plastered all over it. I'm not sure if I will read the sequel, maybe..but just because of the fascinating antagonist, but I sure won't be dying for it.
Overall, if you like fantasy and a little something different, then Shadow and Bone would suit you. I, on the other hand, enjoy kissing and contemporary a lot more. :P 

Note: I KNOW so many people who had loved this book, so I am a bit sad that I didn't :( 
Also, I read this before Throne of Glass (which I LOVED and is one of my favourites this year so far), and so even though I didn't like this, I would recommend people to read it and Throne of Glass (Sarah J. Maas), too!


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