Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A Kickass YA Fantasy for People Who are Tired of YA Fantasy



I burned out on YA fantasy series a long time ago, but when Amanda from Book Riot's Get Booked podcast raved about this book (on several occasions), I finally perked up to listen. Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone, the first book in the Grisha trilogy, is unique and immediately involving. I read this book in a day, and I never ever do that. Well, hardly ever. Unless there's a Readathon chasing me or I'm on vacation.

Alina Starkov and her best friend Mal are in the First Army. Alina is a cartographer while Mal is the best tracker they army has, and she watches from the sidelines as he grows up into quite the dashing catch. Alina, on the other hand, is plain, frail, and sunken. She views the Grisha women who are occasionally drawn to Mal--powerful healers, summoners, manipulators--with a jealous eye. When the army has to enter the Shadow Fold, a dark, mysterious swath of land blanketed in shadow and infested with otherworldly predators, Alina is revealed to be Grisha herself. A powerful summoner the likes of which the world has not seen in ages. Enter the Darkling, the leader of the Grisha, who takes Alina under his wing to make sure she's trained and ready to fight the Fold. But is it ever that easy? That straightforward?

It probably sounds pretty par for the course so far, but what really set this one apart for me was the setting. Alina and her cohorts play this adventure out against a backdrop reminiscent of Russia and Russian folklore. Someone more educated in the particulars of Russian culture might giggle at this one, but I'm just ignorant enough of the particulars to be swept away without needing to suspend disbelief.

Alina is an engaging underdog character...a woman discovering her power with age, experience, and practice. The romance here is not too overt. She pines for Mal. She's finds the Darkling seductive. But most of the action focues on Alina...her powers, her training, her education in court politics and Grisha power.

Whatever it is, it worked, and I can't wait to get into the second book.

Henry Holt, June 2012
0805094598 
Received in a book swap!




13 comments:

  1. So very good! I love that this is much older YA too. Alina's what? 19 or something? It reads on that level between YA and adult, which helps. Despite the third book disappointing me at the very very end, I still adore this series and especially this book.

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    1. Yep! I do love that about it. Maybe it's riding that age line that helped me become more invested? That's probably part of it. I cannot WAIT to find out what goes down in the third book!

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  2. Book two is also excellent! What I loved even more was her most recent book - Six of Crows. I'm dying to see where that series goes!

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    1. Ooooh! I've been seeing Six of Crows but I haven't read or watched many reviews (yet). Looking forward to picking up the rest of this series from the library after #SmashYourStack is done!

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  3. This has been on my TBR since it came out, but I just haven't run across a copy of it. I might have to actively seek it out now!

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    1. You definitely need to! It is so so so good and involving. A very quick read!

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  4. Isn't reading a book in one single day the best? I don't get to do it as often as I'd like, but I do think it contributes to my ultimate enjoyment of the book. I don't think it's a coincidence that a lot of my five-star reads over the past few years have been books I've read while on vacation, and therefore books I've read in fewer installments than usual.

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    1. YES! I hardly ever do it, and it's so good to be sucked into a book to that extent. I have a vacation coming up, and I hope with all hope that I can fall down some books' rabbit holes.

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  5. I really really liked this... Have the sequels.. Have never read them! I also have read the first book in her other series, but at least there are no sequels to that yet. I am so bad with series. lol

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    1. I'm pretty bad with series myself. Except Patrick Ness. If he does a series I'm bound to finish it!

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  6. This is on my bookshelf! So it shouldn't be TOO hard for me to actually pick it up and read it, right? Vs... all the other library books? Hopefully one day soon :-)

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    1. LOL, we know how hard it can be, right? I hope you get to it soon!

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  7. This sounds like a fascinating story, especially with such a unique setting, but I am a bit wary of YA - especially with a love triangle!

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