Hey bookworms! Today I have a special guest for you...an honorary Word Walker named Becca! Becca is a close friend of mine and we love to talk about anything and everything about books, from bashing the horrible boy who broke an innocent girl's heart to swooning over the perfect book boyfriend. Here is her review...Enjoy! :3
Dani's rating: 4.5 stars
Becca's rating: 4.5 stars
Publisher: Henry and Holt Co.
Publication Date: June 5, 2012 (First published May 17, 2013)
Veronica Roth claimed this book was-"Unlike anything I've ever read,". Boy, did she get it right. Okay, before I begin, let me cover some of the basics of the plot so we know what we’re working with here. This book takes place in Ravka, which is best described as a supernatural take on Russia. (Hence the main character’s name being Alina Starkov, which is about as Russian as one can get). Alina and Mal are best friends and fellow orphans who grew up together and are now a part of the King’s Army. They were traveling to the deadly and mysterious area known as the Shadow Fold when their entire world turned around. Through a deadly and magical series of events, it is revealed that Alina possesses an amazing power. A power that literally can either heal or rip apart Ravka. At this point, a second army made up of beautiful people possessing magical abilities known as the Grisha swoop in. And now, the fun really begins.
This book is completely different from anything I've recently read. It is just so...unique, and that's what I loved about it. Nothing is quite as it seems, and the characters have true depth to them, even those that are only briefly touched on. So many YA books now have become so blasé, so formulated, and so predictable. That is not the case with Shadow and Bone. The tension between the main army of ordinary humans and the Grisha was enthralling. I was as enraptured by the politics of the novel as I was by the lives of the characters, something that is very rare for me to say. Let’s get real here people--normally I’m about as interested in fictional politics as I am in the author’s vivid description of a tree trunk-which is to say, no interest at all. Despite this, I was shocked to find myself so drawn to the politics and geographical disputes at the heart of this novel. While the middle section of the novel might have seemed slow to some, it was a vital piece of the overall puzzle and provided greater detail about key elements and characters.
Speaking of the characters-they were certainly compelling. I mean, take the Darkling for example. Even his title is mysterious and somehow kind of sexy in a dangerous and unknown sort of way. Then there’s our lovable protagonist, Alina. Now, initially Alina is in no way what you would picture a YA heroine to be-she’s plain, pale, and sickly--not your strong and attractive Katniss Everdeen. When I first read the author's description of her I was like, “Seriously, this is your heroine, your protagonist, the girl who’s going to save Ravka ?” However, rest assured! Alina’s got a lot more to her than wnat you see at first glance, and she will rise to the occasion. Next, there’s Mal, who is of course gorgeous, because this is a YA novel and who are we kidding it needs to have at least one source of eye candy. Minimum. As Alina’s long-time best friend it was obvious from the start that he was going to be an important part of the book.
This novel had a little bit of everything-fantasy, romance, adventure, even darker themes (both literally and emotionally) as well. It was an interesting blend that really worked well together. I would have liked to have seen more of Mal. He's hot and a talented tracker, what more do you need? However, I feel that he will play a much larger role in the next book. Now, all of this said, it’s not as if this book was without its faults. Realistically speaking, nothing in life is ever quite perfect, and this book, while being a wonderful read, is no exception. The writing style is….okay. The plot is way better than the quality of writing. There’s no getting around it. There’s nothing wrong with the writing style, but it’s nothing special or elevated either. Also, I found some of the supposed “plot twists” a little too predictable. (I won’t say any more than this so as not to spoil the book for anyone who hasn’t read it yet-because ya’ll really should read it if you get the chance). Additionally, I found Alina a little too naïve and trusting at times, (the Darkling, *cough cough*) especially considering she grew up an orphan, something that tends to make people tougher and slower to trust. I also wished she would have had a little more self-confidence, although her lack of it was certainly understandable. I think she’ll start to develop some more spunk as the series goes on. Still, there’s no denying that I absolutely LOVED this book and will definitely be coming back for the second. :D
A note from Dani: I disagree with Becca in 1 aspect. I thought that Leigh Bardugo's writing style was superb and compelling. It is rather simple, but that's why it appealed to me.
All in all, a great read.
All in all, a great read.
~Dani and Becca