The blurb: 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.
Chosen as one of Amazon's top YA books for 2012, Shadow and Bone is the sort of adventure story that I love. The heroine, Alina Starkov, was raised as an orphan with her best friend Malyen Oretsev in the house of their benefactor Duke Keramsov. As the children grew up, they were trained to serve in the army: Alina as a cartographer and Mal as a tracker.
For as long as they could remember, their country had been battling a growing "Shadow Fold" of darkness with flesh eating monsters called volka. While on reconnaissance, Mal was attacked by one of the mythic volka and when Anika tried to save him, they discovered her unusual magical powers. Anika is whisked to the capital to be protected, trained, and to fight to dispel the Shadow Fold. But she discovers that her enemies are not limited to the flesh eating volka, that enemies and allies at court can be far more dangerous than monsters.
Anika learns to navigate dangers and intrigues of court and seems to come into her own. But betrayal comes when she least expects it. Help comes from an unexpected source and Anika must find a way to save herself, her oldest friend, and the nation that she loves from an overpowering force. Shadow and Bone is a story about loyalty and friendship and an unimaginable challenge. It's beautifully written and deeply engrossing. I am eagerly awaiting the next two books in the series.
Ages 12 and up.
ISBN-10: 0805094598 - Hardcover $17.99
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (June 5, 2012), 368 pages.
Review copy courtesy of Netgalley and the publisher.
About the Author:
Leigh Bardugo was born in Jerusalem, raised in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. She indulges her fondness for glamour, ghouls, and costuming in her other life as a makeup artist in Hollywood, and she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.