Publication Date: April 3, 2012
Type: Hardcover, bought
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.
Books like this make me realize just how biased my ratings really are.
Because, objectively, this isn't perfect. And that's what five stars means, right? Perfect. 100%. Not a flaw to be found.
And objectively speaking there are flaws in this novel.
There's scarcely a good female character to be found aside from our lovely heroine.
The plot contradicted itself several times.
Alina's last name should be Starkova and you can't get drunk on kvas.
But the fact is, when I was reading this novel, I wasn't thinking about a lack in female representation, or a contradictory plot, or improper last names.
I was thinking about the dark, magical, fantastical world, the one that consumed me the moment I cracked open this novel. How marvelous and horrible and utterly entrancing it was; how wonderfully imagined, every last detail.
I was thinking about the romance, how it made my heart pound like a silly teenager (oh, right! I am a silly teenager!), made my stomach clench and made me grin like I was the one being kissed senseless.
I was thinking about the plot, the crazy, layered, chilling plot that I could never quite predict.
I was thinking about a villain so complex that while I recognized the evil of his deeds, his own inherent darkness, the fact that he would most likely always be a terribly awful, terribly dangerous person . . . I still wanted some redemption for him, some semblance of a happy ending.
I was thinking about how beautiful it was despite the horror. How I started this at 12 and finished it at 4 in the morning.
I fell really hard for Shadow and Bone.
And whatever the objective side of me may say, the part of me that stayed up until an obscene hour of the morning just to turn the final page and share my exhausted ramble of a gush with the internet refuses to give this novel anything less than five stars.