Review: Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I'm pleased to report that everything you've heard about this book is true! But first, a dramatic beginning...
When booktube-a-thon came to an end, my TBR pile had things I bought only because I eventually want to read them and they were cheap (thanks bookoutlet). So on a whim I picked up Shadow & Bone not really expecting anything. I went into it almost blind, and then got SLAPPED IN THE FACE.
Seriously. This book was like a giant slap in the face. One that's so hard you sort of black out for a second and then went you come to, your face feels weird and tingly.
I wasn't expecting anything. 
I'm not big into fantasy. I hate long explanations of magic systems, weird words, descriptions of landscapes (reason number 1 why I will probably never read Lord of the Rings), and things like "and to the east was blank and to ahead was blank." Just- no. So when the novel grabbed my shoulder and yanked me into the story, I was in shock. I was truly enjoying a fantasy world!

First thing's first: I have issues with rating books. I never know what to do...
 I still don't know what I rated this book, but the important thing is that I liked it!

SO! Shadow & Bone! What's it about, you ask? Well I'm gonna tell you!

Shadow & Bone follows the point of view of Alina Starkov, a mapmaker for the First Army of Ravka. Her long-time friend, Malyen Oretsev, is a tracker for the same army. They lived together in an orphanage as children until they could join the army to help fight the war between Fierda, Ravka, and Shu Han.
This fantasy world is the world of Grisha. The Grisha are treated differently in different kingdoms, but in Ravka, they have a high rank. Grisha are people with powers, but I think you should read the book and to find out what exactly they are, cause it's fun!
And then there's the Darkling. He's like the most powerful of all the Grisha because he has more then one power, and also, he's the only one permitted to wear black.
While the cultures of the world have Russian influence, don't go into this expecting any sort of reference at all. The cover is a little misleading in that sense, and I've seen a lot of low reviews on Goodreads that are disappointed there was no Russian references/setting.

Here's some stuff that I liked:

  • while there were many new words to learn, I felt like Leigh Bardugo did a great job easing you into them and leaving clues as to what they were until you got used to them
  • great writing and twists -- I know from reading goodreads reviews that not everyone is a fan of her writing, but I am!
  • the Darkling -- he's super mysterious and cool
  • the theme isn't lost in the romance!
  • while you're trying to get a hold of the world, there aren't too many characters to keep track of as well, which makes it easier to get into the book
  • I never knew what was going to happen next
Stuff I didn't like:

  • the love triangle... it's sort of present in that you don't really notice it, but it's still there
  • Alina relies too much on Mal/Darkling -- I hope to see more character development in the next books
  • I can't think of anything else...

Next order of business; this is always entertaining to look at.
(I've blacked out spoilers. Also, you shouldn't read the 6 comments in that one update cause spoilers!)
As you can tell, I had a lot of fun reading this and I hope to enjoy the rest of the trilogy just as much!

After liking this, I'm definitely going to pick up other fantasy books like Throne of Glass and Daughter of Smoke and Bone without being afraid!

If you've read Shadow & Bone let me know what you thought! If you haven't, let me know if you plan to read it or not!
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