Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on June 5th 2012
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, YA
Source: Owned Audible Book
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.
Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy.
I love audio books. In the author’s notes on the audio version of Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, he talks about how the first stories we learn are read to us. I listen to audio books when I’m in the car, shopping, and playing Candy Crush Soda Saga or Trivia Crack.
In typical book blogger fashion, I already have a tbr shelf just for audio books. Reviewing them is a bit more difficult, because I don’t take notes and I don’t always know how to spell the characters names. So these reviews will be a little different from my book reviews.
I confessed in a Sundays In Bed With… post that the reasons I stayed away from this series were because 1. I thought it was about Geishas, not Grishas. Not that I have anything against Geishas, I just wasn’t interested in reading about them. And my confusing the two shows that not all bookworms are smart. 2. Because I got it confused with Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and couldn’t remember which one I wanted to read (eventually choosing the Daughter of Smoke and Bones series and loving it). So even though the book blogging world I belong to get blowing up in excitement over the latest Leigh Bardugo book, I was ambivalent at best.
But then Six of Crows came out. And it was at BEA this past year. And I got swept up in the book excitement of it all. So I waited in line. And waited. And waited. And was denied. They ran out of copies, claiming they had to save some for a book drop later… which I also missed out on. So Six of Crows became the Book That Got Away. Which is kind of ridiculous of me, since it was based on a series I hadn’t even read yet- although at this time I had at least caved an bought Shadow and Bone during an Audible sale.
When the arc tour group that I participate in offered Six of Crows, I eagerly signed up for my week long book date with it. I was immediately sucked into the book (and the Grishas, not Geishas). It ended up being one of my favorite reads of 2015. I knew then that I would finally read Shadow and Bone. January 2016 seemed like the time to clear the book off my TBR piles, so I listened to it (right after Throne of Glass, the first in another series that I initially missed and felt all weird about until I actually read it).
I really loved Alina, and her journey to unlocking her power. I loved the whole system of Grisha magic. The only thing that really kept this from being a 5 star read was that at times the story was so focused on romance. Alina is in love with and pining for childhood friend, Mal, who is pretty free with his physical affections… with other women. Alina feels friendzoned, and her powers only further seem to separate her from him. Then there’s the Darkling, whom I found fascinating, and he seemed to find Alina fascinating, almost against his own will and I am such a sucker for that. And so while I got that Alina had feelings for Mal, and developing feelings for the Darkling, at times I just wanted to point out that she had other stuff to do- like work on unlocking her magic.
There were some nice plot twists towards the end, and the book ends on enough of a cliffhanger that I, of course, now can’t wait to read the second book. Sequels= book trap for bookworms.
I’m pretty sure narrator Lauren Fortgang is a new to me narrator, but I really enjoyed her performance. She’s narrated this series, plus Six of Crows, along with some of the novels I wish I’d listened to but read instead. I’m looking forward to continuing the series with her as narrator!