Shadow and Bone: a book recommendation
5 out of 5 stars.
Oh, where to begin with this review without spiraling into a gush-fest? To start, let me just say that Shadow and Bone is truly unique–I can’t think of anything I’ve read quite like it.
But even better than being unique, Shadow and Bone is good. Like, REALLY good.
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.
First off, the world…oh, the world! I loved the scale, the Russian influences, the magic, and the overall darkness of it all. It’s one of those fictional places you will desperately wish were real.
Second off, the characters are stunning–three dimensional, believable, and (even the bad guys) totally likeable. Alina is tough and endearing, and you root for her from page one. And the love interest…phew, I’m getting heart palpitations just thinking of him. WHAT a heroic guy. He’s a character truly worthy of the heroine’s affection.
Third off, THE PLOT! Gripping, edge of the seat, filled with twisty turns you don’t see coming. I loved every minute of it. And the ending–holy crow, it left me breathless.
Well, I’m afraid this has spiraled into a gush-fest, but let me just wrap up by saying: if you like high fantasy, epic romance, or kick-butt heroines, be sure to pick up Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone.
Now, to celebrate the book’s release TOMORROW, I’m giving away a copy! I’ll order it for the winner and have it sent to your doorstep.
This giveaway is open internationally, and I’ll announce the winner next week! Just fill out the form below!
June 4, 2012 @ 12:20 pm
Yay! Love your book recommendations, and a contest thrown in is even better 🙂
I’ve never been a huge reader of fantasy, so only recent reads stick in my mind as favs… I LOVE Sarah Maas’ assassin novellas, and am super excited for THRONE OF GLASS. I also loved Rae Carson’s GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS!
June 4, 2012 @ 1:31 pm
I totally want to read this! It’s been on my “to read” list since I first heard about it.
Are we talking about favorite YA fantasy? I love love love Graceling by Kristin Cashore. I still need to read Bitterblue. Too many books, not nearly enough time!
June 4, 2012 @ 3:07 pm
I’ve been wondering how this book is! Glad to hear it’s as good as I had hoped. 🙂
There are so many great epic fantasy books! I think my favorite, though, is Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson.
June 4, 2012 @ 6:57 pm
Thanks for the giveaway! I’ve been staring at this book for months ^^
Favorite epic fantasy… I think I’d have to go with The Chronicles of Sirkara by Laura Resnick. Or, if I can name a German one (no idea whether it’s ever been translated) the Daresh books by Katja Brandis.
June 4, 2012 @ 7:20 pm
Great review, Susan! S&B sounds like a fantastic book, can’t wait to read it!
Hmm, as for epic fantasies…I’ve always considered His Dark Materials to be of this type of fantasy, but with the Multiverse I’m a bit unsure ha; it’s certainly my favorite series, in any case. If not HDM, though, I have to admit that I’ve acquired a recent fondness for N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy–it’s pretty freaking stellar!
June 4, 2012 @ 7:43 pm
My fave epic fantasy has to be the Kushial’s Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey. Sooooo good!
Also, I’ve been wanting to read Shadow & Bone ever since seeing a picture of the world map a couple of months ago.
June 4, 2012 @ 7:44 pm
As far as great fantasy goes, I haven’t read very many. But I do love The Seven Realms series by Kristin Cashore and The Girl of Fire and Thornes by Rae Carson. 🙂 Thank you for hosting this giveaway!
June 4, 2012 @ 8:07 pm
I LOVE this book! Alina is such a great MC and the love interest, oh swoon! I loved this book to pieces and I don’t think I can comment anymore without doing a gushfest of my own. I want to put a copy of it in the hands of everyone I know 🙂
Favorite epic fantasy? Oh tons. Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith is always up there at the top of my list. The Banned and the Banished series by James Clemens is another favorite.
June 4, 2012 @ 8:42 pm
Sounds like a must read.
June 4, 2012 @ 8:42 pm
Sounds like a must read.
June 4, 2012 @ 8:48 pm
No way can I pick just one 🙂 My top 3 are Kristin Cashore’s Graceling series, Cinda Williams Chima’s Seven Realms series, and Melina Marchetta’s Lumatere series. I want to read Shadow and Bone sooo bad. Thanks for the chance to win!
June 4, 2012 @ 10:17 pm
This book sounds so intriguing!
My favourite epic fantasy? Is Lord of the Rings too cliche? 😛
June 4, 2012 @ 10:34 pm
I haven’t read too many fantasy novels, but of the ones I have read I’d say Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder is my favorite. I just bought Graceling the other day though so maybe soon I can say I loved that as well.
June 5, 2012 @ 3:47 am
I was nodding my head along with everything you said–I LOVED this book so much that I passed my arc copy along to others so they could read it too! 🙂
June 5, 2012 @ 3:52 am
Oh! I forgot to mention a favorite fantasy novel. I’m a huge fan of Maria V. Snyder’s POISON STUDY and Lois McMaster Bujold’s PALADIN OF SOULS. Fantasy novels FTW! 🙂
June 5, 2012 @ 5:31 am
I cannot WAIT to read SHADOW AND BONE! It looks amazinggg. After finishing BITTERBLUE by Kristin Cashore last week, I’ve been on the hunt for more similarly-themed fantasy novels with strong heroines, so its release is quite timely.
My favorite epic fantasy is… the Graceling Realm Series by Kristin Cashore (because I can’t pick just one! <333) I loved GRACELING, and I adore FIRE, and BITTERBLUE… oh, the feelings that book gave me. I finished it last week and I loved it so much I just wanted to pick it up again and read all 500 pages of it again (but I resisted, because my TBR pile is towering.)
Cashore's books give me all the feelings. I can't pick just one. 🙂 Suffice to say, Kristin Cashore is one of my favorite writers of all time. So yeah, to cut my gushing short (!!!), the Graceling Realm Series is the best.
June 5, 2012 @ 7:26 am
I can’t think of any high fantasy books that I particularly loved but I really enjoyed ‘Girl of Fire and Thorns’ by Rae Carson and Robin McKinley’s ‘The Blue Sword. Shadow and Bone definitely sounds interesting!
June 5, 2012 @ 4:44 pm
Yay for book giveaways!
My favorite fantasy lately has to be Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It will probably take awhile for that to be knocked out of the top spot! But that’s not high fantasy is it? I would have to say Graceling by Kristin Cashore is a very strong runner-up.
June 5, 2012 @ 6:20 pm
Yes, the Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta! Love those books so much!
June 5, 2012 @ 6:26 pm
I cannot wait to read this! Everything I’ve heard is fantastic, and it sounds so fresh and different from what’s out there.
My favorite epic fantasy is still frustratingly unfinished – the Exiles trilogy (still only two books) by Melanie Rawn. Will she ever finish it???
June 5, 2012 @ 6:38 pm
I love Kristin Cashore’s books!
June 6, 2012 @ 4:20 am
Oh, epic fantasy. It’s so hard to choose which one is my fave! But I would have to go with Dark Reflections by Kai Meyer. Pure. Epicness.
June 6, 2012 @ 6:39 am
This looks so interesting! The trailer definitely made me want to read it, and now so many people are saying how good it is!
I will have to go with the very unoriginal answer of GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire, Tamora Pierce’s Tortall series, and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (although it’s more steampunk than fantasy).
Petra @ Safari Poet
June 6, 2012 @ 1:37 pm
Can’t wait to read this!
I haven’t read a lot of epic fantasy books, so I can’t really say which is my favourite. It definitely a genre I’m taking a closer look at.
June 6, 2012 @ 2:28 pm
I love The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop and the Nightrunner books by Lynn Flewelling. They don’t exactly match epic fantasy, but close enough.
June 7, 2012 @ 11:35 am
Maria Snyder’s and Kristin Cashore’s books! Those two are great fantasy writers. I also like the Belgariad and the Malloreon series by David Eddings 🙂
Thanks for the Rec! I am definitly going to read Shadow and Bone 🙂
June 7, 2012 @ 1:16 pm
Poison Study hands down – made me a diehard Maria V. Snyder fan and also influenced my own epic fantasy writing more than any other book/series.
June 7, 2012 @ 11:04 pm
Off the top of my head, I’d have to say Kristin Cashore’s Graceling for YA fantasy. My favorite fantasy book is probably The Last Unicorn though. It’s so gorgeous!
Thanks for the giveaway!
June 9, 2012 @ 11:21 pm
Awesome giveaway for the shadow and bone. I LOVE reading your posts
June 9, 2012 @ 11:22 pm
My epic fantasy would be a real life harry potter situation without all of the death and most of the danger and excitement
Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings
June 10, 2012 @ 9:38 pm
I loved this book as well. Such an awesome debut! The characters were terrific and the Darkling!? Whoa! So glad you enjoyed it as well.