This was a book that for whatever reason I kept checking out at my library and turning back in unread. I knew it would be a good book and my sister confirmed this when she read it but I hadn't been in the mood for a fantasy in a while and I had been so busy writing and querying and running my family that I just never got around to reading it. Well, that all changed the other day. I checked it out and immediately started reading. And of course, like my sister, EVERYONE on Twitter and even EW.com, I thought it was AMAZING! Here's my summary:
Alina is a war orphan in her country. Her and her best friend Mal are raised at the Duke's estate and sent out into the army when they are of age. The army fights border countries and with the help of the Grisha (those born with a magical talent) try to cross Unsea, or shadow fold, that lies in the middle of the country and separates them from their True Sea and other west provinces. The shadow fold is just what it sounds like, a dark stretch of land filled with monsters where most anyone who crosses dies. Alina and her unit are crossing the fold one day when they are attacked by those monsters. In a desperate attempt to save Mal, Alina does something incredible--she displays a highly sought after and world changing magical talent. She can summon the sun. Immediately she is whisked away to the king's palace and sent to train like other Grisha. The Darkling, the leader of the Grisha, believes Alina is the people's savior. He wants her to help him destroy the shadow fold. All Alina wants is to be back with Mal and have her normal life back. She may not have had much in the way of money or family or friends but at least she knew who she was. This girl they've turned her into isn't someone she recognizes and for the life of her, Alina can't seem to summon the sun without provocation. But as much as she misses Mal and her old life, she wants to make a difference more. And when the Darkling starts taking a special interest in her Alina finds his charms hard to resist. But when a secret ally lets Alina in on the Darkling's true intentions, Alina has no choice but to escape. She finds Mal and together the two search for a way to make Alina more powerful than the Darkling. Powerful enough that she will never be anyone's slave or weapon. But will they manage this or will the Darkling find them first? Will Alina be able to save her people or will she help to slaughter them? And will she be with Mal or will she lose him forever?
**When I think of high fantasy books that I love (see my favorites list to the right) it's hard to imagine anything can compare to those books. I wasn't expecting to like Shadow and Bone as much as I did but it blew me away. I got swept up in Alina's Russian-like world of magic and war and political power. I loved Alina's character and everything she struggled with, most especially her feelings for her best friend Mal. But I was really surprised to find myself kind of liking the Darkling and her relationship with him too. Who doesn't like the bad boy with immense power that looks at you like you're everything he wants? The ending left me wanting more but not in a cliffhanger sort of way. I can't wait to read the next book in the GRISHA trilogy, Siege and Storm. It just came out and it has been getting awesome reviews!
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