Shadow and Bone has all the elements of successful YA fiction. Magical powers, hot guys, scary monsters, and one ungainly female protagonist. Throw all those into a giant stew pot, add a pinch of Russian influence, and you’ve got the basic premise of S&B.
Alina Starkov and her best friend Mal are members of the First Army. She’s an apprentice cartographer and he’s an expert tracker. She’s gawky and bumbling and he’s gorgeous and talented–she’s sure the only reason they’re still friends is because they bonded at the orphanage after the war-torn country killed their parents.
Imagine her surprise when the Darkling, second only in power to the king, takes interest in her after an “incident” in the Fold. (The Fold, also known as the “Unsea” is a stretch of land completely engulfed in darkness and filled with monsters).
Maybe there’s more to Alina than meets the eye.
I really enjoyed Shadow and Bone and it wasn’t until I finished it that I read other reviews. Seems like a lot of people have been bitching because Bardugo messed up some of the Russian language words and names she used in the book. Everyone’s totally giving her a hard time for not researching enough. Considering the only thing I know about Russians is that they drink a lot of vodka and spit everywhere when they talk… I didn’t notice.
I do agree that someone should have been there to check the facts (her editor, maybe?) But to play the devil’s advocate, Bardugo said the novel was based on Russian culture. It’s still a made up world. Frankly, since I didn’t notice anything wrong… I don’t really care. The story was good and the Darkling was sexy. I liked the descriptions of the Grisha and all of their unique powers. (I want to be Genya, the girl who can make herself more beautiful at will!)
This is young adult fiction. Stop taking everything so damn seriously. Put away your Russian dictionaries and carry on.
5 mythical deer of 5