Okay, this post is mostly for a review of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.
This is my fanart for Marissa Meyers series The Lunar Chronicles and a contest. It is the for points of a compass- North, East, South, West, as well as a representation of the book covers (shoe, cloak, hair and a W for Winter) These are some of my favourite books ever- a mix of sci-fi and fairytales which are amazing. I highly recommend them.
So, Shadow and Bone
I read this book several weeks ago, and it is amazing. In one sentence: girl in russianish kingdom discovers she has powers of light which she must use to burn through the dark sea. But this book is so much more than that.
The setting and plot, and characters of this book are my favorite aspects of it (so all of it , basically)The setting is in a kingdom called Ravka. It is a fantasy book, so it has a king, who lives in the palace in the capital, Os Alta.This is the land of the Grisha, masters of the Small Science, who have control over bodies, making things, and the elements. They are ruled by the Darkling. The thing is, this nation is at war with other nations- and itself. The Unsea, or the Fold, was created centuries ago by a malevolent Darkling. Since then, it has destroyed Ravkan trade.
That’s the premise. What I loved about the setting was that it was lusciously described, with space also allowed for you to imagine. The spiraling turrets of Os Alta, the clammy darkness of the fold, the sparse landscape of the Permafrost let you walk with the characters as they encounter evil of unseen magnitude.
Secondly, the plot. The magic basis is a powerful, but the limitations of it make the characters trials believable. Alina (the main character) struggles to control her power, and find who she is in a strange place of luxury. Her story is honest (not literally- its a novel) and engaging. I wish, however, that it had all been told in third person- this sort of story eclipses the limits of first person. When Alina, a soldier, finds that she has Grisha powers of light that could heal the Fold and Ravka, she is whisked to Os Alta. She must find her way among factions, the Darkling, and the royalty, totally unsure about herself. Her encounters with her best friend Mal are interesting and her understanding of herself is vital to the plot. The magic and pain of a desolate kingdom are manifested in her struggle. She does not know who to trust or what is the right thing to do.
Alina and Mal were orphans. Now, she is Grisha and he is a tracker. Alina has only one friend in the palace, Genya, whose cosmetic powers are disregarded by the other characters. Alina’ voice is engaging. She is confused between her love for two polar opposites- Mal and the Darkling- and what her role as the most important Grisha is. Her internal struggles are like those of Ravka- she is ripped by the darkness within her. The Darkling, another important character is powerful, esoteric and confusing. His relationship with Alina is an important component of the story.
The only things that I would change about this book is the first person narration, flesh out the relationship with Genya and make it more Russian. It was great. Soooooo great. I recommend it to people who like high fantasy, ya books, and adventures stories.