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The future is unknown, a place of shadows and deadly creatures. But hope lies in Alina Starkov; only she can save the kingdom and light the world.
“Shadow and Bone” seems like the typical love triangle, with a silly girl trying to find her way in a war-stricken world. And as the novel continues, you think you’ll be so sure of the ending, until you’re proven completely wrong.
This novel is entirely unpredictable, a unique story for someone who reads often and for those that don’t. Most readers tend to have a certain genre that they prefer, be it romance, mystery or science fiction. And after reading so many novels, you can usually predict what will happen.
But you don’t know author Leigh Bardugo. She’s a literary genius. She makes everything, from plot to characters, seem simple and easy, until suddenly, they just aren’t. Black becomes white, and white—black, until you are wondering how you even got there in the first place.
The story begins with the Border Wars who orphaned Alina. The only person she could rely on was Mal, her best friend and fellow refugee. But Mal has been making a life for himself in the army that they were both drafted into, leaving Alina, desperate to make something of herself on her own.
Mal and Alina are sent on a deadly mission, supervised by the mysterious Darkling. Their convoy is attacked, and faced with life or death, Alina discovers she may be special after all.
Alina is then swept away from Mal and the war, into the lavish kingdom, as she trains to become a member of the magical elite. After awhile Alina becomes the Darkling’s favorite. He believes that she is the only one who can save them all. But Alina isn’t so sure.
“Shadow and Bone” is all about power; the power being sought after and what it takes to obtain that power—and ultimately keep it.
It also ties the minor themes in well, including the flashy, gossip filled kingdom and the romance, lust and tension between characters.
After finishing “Shadow and Bone,” I was furious. I was so stunned by the direction of the last few chapters, I spent days ranting about how terrible it was, until I realized I still cared about the book so much to still be thinking about it a week later.
“Shadow and Bone” may not be exactly what you want in a novel, but that’s the point. It snatches you by the heart and pulls. There’s a reason it’s now a New York Times Best Seller, and it won’t disappoint.