SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads.com)
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.
Ok, I flipping loved this book. It was EPIC. Epic, I say. I read it in less than 24 hours over the Fourth holiday, which is REALLY fast for me. But it was SOOOO good I hated to put it down. For any reason. This book. Wow. Very nearly life changing. Literally.
"...And there's nothing wrong with being a lizard either.
Unless you were born to be a hawk."
So I first heard of this when a book club I wanted to attend featured Shadow and Bone. I honestly did not think I was going to like it. I read the first couple of pages online and just wasn't convinced this was a book for me. But I really thought I'd like to go to the book club and didn't want not reading the book to be the reason I wasn't going. I made up my mind I was going to read it. Anyhow, like I said the first couple of pages didn't really do a lot for me, possibly because I am not a fan of the "fantasy" genre. While I adore fiction, I am my mother's child when it comes to wanting to be able to see what I read to play out like a movie in my head. I just have a real hard time getting a mental picture of what's going on in a fantasy novel.
"It isn't something separate from you," Baghra snapped.
"It isn't an animal that shies away from you or chooses
whether or not to come when you call it. Do you ask your
heart to beat or your lungs to breathe? Your power
serves you because that is its purpose,
because it cannot help but serve you."
Once I got into reading this book, it didn't matter what genre it was, fantasy, young adult, etc. While the descriptions of the goings on were good, it was the characters that swept me away. I could identify with the female lead, Alina, who never quite fit in but wanted to desperately. I love Mal and his good natured best friendliness and the Darkling with his sexy, dark, mysteriousness. The story has a Cinderella quality to it, plucking an obscure girl from the crowd and whisking her away to the palace. It has a dark under current of things not being quite what they seem. It's magical. It's both heartbreaking and hopeful.
This is by far one one of my top books of 2012. Really, it's unfair to anything else I'm trying to read next because this good was just so darn GOOD. Would I recommend this book? YES! It is a MUST-READ NOW kind of book!
Here's the book trailer for Shadow and Bone:
(the book is as epic as this clip
would lead you to believe)
"The stag had been showing me my strength--
not just the price of mercy but the power it bestowed."
*quotes from the book in black highlight*