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Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone - Originally Reviewed at: Mother/Gamer/WriterRating: 5 out of 5 EPIC ControllersReview Source: ARC Provided by PublisherReviewer: MeMysterious. Intriguing. Magical. Fantastic. Epic! Shadow and Bone is the type of book aspiring authors dream of writing, and readers crave to read. It’s more than a fantastic book; it’s an engaging story, set against a jaw-dropping world, containing a magically magnetic one-of-a-kind adventure. If you want – no NEED – a book that will leave you screaming, YES, YES, YES, then look no further than Shadow and Bone, a dark fantasy with extraordinary imagery that is unlike any other. Set in the backdrop of Russia, the story begins with our main characters, Alina Starkov and Malyen Oretsev. The two are orphans, and though completely different, Alina is plain while Mal is anything but, they become friends – best friends. When the two became of age they joined the King’s Army, Mal as a highly skilled tracker and Alina a simple cartographer (mapmaker). They have recently been assigned to travel into the Shadow Fold, a place where evil creatures reside in a vast darkness. Shortly after arriving, everything spirals out of control as their boat is attacked by a group of creatures known as the Volcra. And what happens next, sets up one of the most, entertaining and well-written stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Leigh Bardugo does and exceptional job of saturating her readers with eloquent prose. My imagination ran rampant as I dove deeper and deeper into her immense world, never once wanting to leave, and always craving more from each page. Bardugo’s ability to weave together both Russian dialect and history while adding her own spin on magical creatures and sorcery, was phenomenal. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a fantasy that truly captivated both my heart and my imagination. Shadow and Bone, solidified what I’d always known to be true, fantasy is and always will be my first love. Oh the romance… I adored the relationship between Alina and Mal. My heart ached as Alina tried to deny her feelings for her best friend, protector, and confidant. Mal was a genuine heartthrob capturing the attention of every young woman who came in contact with him. There was definitely a lot of teenage angst and back and forth with these two. I rooted, I sneered, and then finally I cheered for their love. But of course, love is never cut and dry, or as easy as we hopeless romantics would like to believe. When Alina becomes a member of the Grisha and captures the eye of The Darkling, a powerful boy with his own secret agenda, you can’t help – and neither could Alina – to fall in love with him too. While Alina and Mal’s relationship added tenderness and endearment, The Darkling added passion, excitement, mystery, and intrigue. It created a whole new dynamic to the story, taking me on a pleasantly dark journey. Magic, magic, and more magic… Although I fell in love with every single character in the novel, what really kept me on the edge of my seat in anticipation chapter after chapter was the world. The Grisha, who resemble Benders from Avatar: The Last Airbender (cartoon show and not the movie), gave the novel the extra oomph it needed in the fantasy department. With unique names such as Corporalki, Etherealki, and Materialki, it was interesting how each type of “master” used their gifts. Every Grisha is highly skilled, whether it is in the art of healing, killing, or crafting objects out of metals, they could – and did – do it all. Watching Alina come into her powers and the grueling training she had to receive, left me in awe. Who wouldn’t want to have a rare gift and be worshiped or feared? And even though Alina never truly wanted her powers, she too soon began to love her coveted ability. Overall, there is not enough praise in the world I could give Shadow and Bone. The best advice I can give is to just sit down, and read it. And if you don’t, you really will be missing out on one of the most exceptional novels ever written.Favorite Quotes:Alina: I’d been kissed before, drunken mistakes, awkward fumblings. This was nothing like that. It was sure and powerful and like my whole body had just come awake. I could feel my pounding heart, the press of silk against my skin, the strength of his arms around me, one hand buried deep in my hair, the other at my back, pulling me closer. The moment his lips met mine, the connection between us opened and I felt his power flood through me. I could feel how much he wanted me – but behind that desire, I could feel something else, something that felt like anger. The Darkling to Alina: “The problem with wanting,” he whispered, his mouth trailing along my jaw until it hovered over my lips, “is that it makes us weak.” And then, at last, when I thought I couldn’t bear it any longer he brought his mouth down on mine. Mal to Alina: “I missed you every hour. And you know what the worst part was? It caught me completely by surprise. I'd catch myself just walking around to find you, not for any reason , just out of habit, because I'd seen something that I wanted to tell you about or because I wanted to hear your voice. And then I'd realize that you weren't there anymore, and every time, every single time, it was like having the wind knocked out of me. I've risked my life for you. I've walked half the length of Ravka for you, and I'd do it again and again and again just to be with you, just to starve with you and freeze with you and hear you complain about hard cheese every day. So don't tell me why we don't belong together.”Mal to Alina: “I don't care if you danced naked on the roof of the Little Palace with him. I love you, Alina, even the part of you that loved him.”