Once again I have left writing a review for a first book until after I have read all the books. Sigh. I’m going to have to try and channel past-Katie for this review, let’s see how it goes.
There are no spoilers in this review!
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo is the first book in her Grisha trilogy, a series I have long been unhurried about starting because of the plethora of mixed reviews. Some people love it, some people hate it, everyone seems to agree it’s not as good as Six of Crows. But I’m a stickler for the rules, and when everyone started raving about Six of Crows, a spin-off duology series which takes place in the same universe as the Grisha trilogy, I knew I had to read these first. In case, you know, I was spoiled or something.
Shadow and Bone follows Alina, a girl who lives in a world were there are normal humans and then there are the Grisha, people with special abilities who always seem to be beautiful and graceful and wealthy. Alina and Mal, her best friend (who is a guy, yes, you can tell where that storyline is going) are in the first army, the normal human one, whereas the Grisha inhabit the second army (and are altogether more cool, with their matching outfits and what-not).
Our story starts when Alina is readying to cross the fold, or the Un-Sea, a rip in the land the separates West Ravka from East Ravka, and is crawling with nasties and darkness. Many people don’t make it through, and sure enough Alina’s friend Mal is attacked. Only when he is she explodes with light, driving the monsters away and saving her friend.
It turns out Alina is Grisha afterall, and a special unheard of kind of Grisha at that. A sun summoner. The opposite to the Grisha’s ruler, the Darkling.
I’m trying to convey as much sarcasm as I can, even though I’m not entirely sure how much I was underwhelmed by this first book when I first read it. I know I was disappointed though. There was something about the characters, and I just didn’t connect at all.
I’m saying all this now, in complete honesty, because it all changed after I read the second book. There was something missing with Shadow and Bone that Leigh completely fixed in Siege and Storm, and I can’t quite put my finger on it.
Overall I gave Shadow and Bone three ice creams when I first read it, so I’ll stand by that now.
Well, there you go. I had to be honest about Shadow and Bone though it killed me to put this series down. If you are thinking about reading Grisha DO IT! It’s an amazing series, seriously one of the best fantasy series I’ve read. It doesn’t pick up, at least for me, until the second book, but the first one is so short it’s definitely worth it!