Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
One of my co-workers recommended this book to me and I wished I would have picked it up sooner! I absolutely fell in love with this new world and the amazing characters in this book!
Alina has been a plain, tall, skinny girl her whole life. She is now in the process of becoming a mapmaker and is in training, traveling with the army to a different part of the world. With her is her best friend, a fellow orphan who she grew up with, Mal, who is one of the best trackers in the kingdom. They may not be as close friends as they once were, but she still talks to him and makes sure he is okay all of the time.
When the group she is with is traveling through the Unsea, disaster strikes. The voltaire attacks their group and Alina watches as one tries to take Mal away. Unable to stop herself, she blocks him from the attack and something amazing happens - a bright, white light blasts from INSIDE Alina.
Even though she had been tested when she was 8, Alina is now a Grisha - one who has some magical powers. And Alina is a very rare Grisha at that - the first Sun Summoner. And she has the attention of a very important person in the kingdsom: the Darkling, who controls a darkness so blinding, you cannot see your hand in front of you when he releases his power.
Now, the Darkling wants Alina to control her new power so they can get rid of the Unsea and can travel safely across that area.
But the longer Alina tries to control her power, the more she learns about the world that she used to be envious about. And she's not sure how she feels about the people in that world.
However, after some unsettling news about what Alina's powers are REALLY going to be used for, she has to make the biggest decision of her life. And she needs to decide how many people are going to suffer and die from her decisions.
The world that Leigh Bardugo created is amazing. I will admit, it took me a few chapters to get used to the new words and what they meant in this world, but once I got a visual on everything, I flew through this book!
And I love Alina! She is strong and can make her own decisions, making her relatable to many female readers. And she is completely confused about being thrust into this new world, but she is keeping up as much as she can and struggling through the rest.
Mal wasn't really growing on me at the beginning of the book, but I did learn to understand him and root for him when he was tracking. And when he came looking for Alina was pretty amazing too. Also? I do have to say that I was swayed by the Darkling, even though his powers do seem to be on the "evil" side. Conjuring a darkness you cannot penetrate? Seems pretty evil to me! But there are certain scenes with him and Alina that made me a bit jealous of her, not going to lie!!
I'm so glad that I finally read this book and I am going to immediately dive into the second one! I will definitely recommend this to other YA book lovers!
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