Shadow & Bone - Leigh Bardugo
"Alina Starkov is a soldier. When her regiment is attacked whilst crossing the Shadow Fold - a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters - Alina unleashes dormant magic not even she knew she possessed.
Now Alina will enter a lavish world of royalty and intrigue as she trains with the Grisha - her country's magical military elite - and falls under the spell of the notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes Alina can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war-ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift.
But as Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she loves and the very future of a nation."
Alina Starkov is the badass, female main character in Shadow & Bone and she quickly became one of my favourite fictional characters ever. She is relatable, sarcastic, funny and thinks she is a normal girl only to be thrown into a completely new world when she discovers she is actually a Grisha.
The Grisha have special powers and are usually divided into Corporalki, Etherealki and Materialki and are known as the "magical elite." They even reside at a place called the Little Palace which I loved and thought it was very Hogwarts-esque.
Not only does Alina have this strange new power, it is also a power that no one else has got. This is a key bonding element between Alina and the Darkling as they are both kind of outcasts, each having their own one of a kind power, his over darkness and hers over light. She is caught in the middle of two worlds as she is not normal anymore but she is also not normal by Grisha standards. This is also paralleled when she is torn between her best friend & crush Mal and the romance blossoming between her and the Darkling. I have to admit I love a good love triangle!
"What is infinite? The universe & the greed of men."
The Darkling is convinced that Alina can destroy the Shadow Fold. The Shadow Fold, which is also called "The Unsea" on the map at the beginning of the book, is a section of complete darkness filled with horrific monsters called the volcra. It is almost impossible to survive and growing steadily. So whilst struggling to control her powers, Alina also has the weight of the world on her shoulders as everyone expects her to be able to save them. Some of my favourite moments in the books were the scenes in the Shadow Fold! As a reader it really feels as though you are standing in the pitch black alongside the characters, not knowing what is going to happen next or if anything is going to jump out. The suspense is thrilling!
Shadow & Bone was filled with amazing & unexpected twists and turns. I was completely enthralled with it as soon as I picked it up and I couldn't put it down. The only downside was that the shop didn't have the next two books in the trilogy when I brought this one so I couldn't binge-read them all at once! I love Leigh Bardugo's writing and could honestly read anything by her. I am super excited for the Netflix adaptation of the books as well.
Thank you for reading my thoughts and I hope you enjoyed my post!