July 21, 2012

Book review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

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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.

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

Imagine an orphan who grew up living a hard life. Then one day, the child discovers that he/she has magical powers and is whisked off to a place where others with magical powers live. There, he/she learns to harness those powers and that he/she is the object of an old prophecy. Sounds like Harry Potter, doesn't it? But it also describes the plot of Shadow and Bone.

I'm not saying that Shadow and Bone is a Harry Potter ripoff, but there were certainly elements that reminded me of Harry Potter. However, Leigh Bardugo's novel is entertaining in its own right. The story is interesting and fast-moving for the most part, and Alina was a character that I grew to like. You can say that Shadow and Bone is for fans of Harry Potter after they become older.

On the positive side, I found the book to be entertaining. It was definitely worth my time and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys the genre. However, I found the story to be somewhat shallow and predictable. Nothing came as a surprise to me and I found myself waiting to get to the part where such-and-such happens because I knew it would.

A solid four stars for the entertainment value but not great enough to warrant five.

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