Leigh Bardugo – Shadow and Bone

Leigh Bardugo has been on my Waterstones wish list for ages, but has been one of those authors where I’ve always thought ‘maybe next time’….

That is, until I watched the first episode of the new Shadow and Bone series on Netflix and I immediately knew I was going to need to read them first so I could make the world my own before being shown what someone else thought it was like.

I’m struggling to write anything coherent about this book without giving away major spoilers so I’m just going to say if you don’t want to spoil the plot, definitely don’t read on, but just know that I would recommend this book 110%. Enthralling, exciting, a complete escape from reality on a wet and windy weekend.

I’m now starting to wish I’d read this book before, I was hooked from the very first page. The author had thrown in so many plot twists that I thought I was going to get whiplash. Every time I thought I had an idea of what was coming next…BAM. It certainly kept me on my toes and made me compulsively keep reading – the whole book was devoured in a matter of hours.

I loved Alina’s character from the get go, and straight away I knew I wanted her to end up with Mal, her childhood friend who she knows she loves, but who doesn’t seem to feel the same way. But then enters the Darkling, and all of a sudden I’m conflicted. He’s dark (obvs) and mysterious and I feel like he would make a good partner for Alina as she gets to grips with her new-found powers.

But the course of true love in a fantasy novel never did run smooth, and just when Alina gets her tenderest yet most exciting moment with the Darkling yet, BAM, another plot twist, and the biggest one yet.

I may have raged when that plot twist hit because I was so sure that Alina was on the right path and this twist sent her about as far in the opposite direction as possible, but the one good thing was that (after quite an epic journey) she ended up reunited with Mal again. My heart just about melted when I read this part: “I’m sorry it took me so long to see you, Alina. But I see you now.” Swoon.

I loved the style of this book, the plot was extremely fast paced, but not at the expense of fully developed characters, and scene-setting that was so spot-on that I felt like I was there with them. The book played like a movie in my head and I was just so glad I bought the whole trilogy at once because if I’d had to wait to find out what happened next after the explosive way the book ended, I might have screamed!

I can’t wait for book two to find out what happens to Alina and Mal now that they’re sailing off the edge of their known world. I need to know what happened to the Darkling (I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of him), and I need to know what is going to happen to Ravka. So. So Good.

My rating: 5Average rating: 3.77
356 pages. Published in: 2012
Read in Paperbackon 2nd-3rd May 2021

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