Well it's no doubt that I absolutely loved this book. It was impossible to hate it, and as it seems, it's impossible to eve semi-dislike parts of it! There's no doubt that Leigh Bardugo created an intriguing world in the first novel of the Grisha Trilogy.
Personally, I used to hate high fantasy, but after reading some books, I've slowly started to enjoy it. In Shadow ad Bone, it made me even start to the love high fantasy novels! From the castles, to the rankings in the kingdom, to riding horseback - I really truly enjoyed the high fantasy aspect of this novel! That's quite surprising for me to enjoy this type of genre as much as I did! It's just that the world she created was so inspiring and alive, that it was impossible to hate it.
Part of the reason I was so appealed by the high fantasy aspects was because of the writing. Leigh Bardugo's writing is simply enchanting. It's the only word that I can use to describe it. There were certain moments when reading it that I just stopped and said 'WOW' because of how she strung the words together. One day, I wish I had the potential to write like her!
When it comes down to it, characters are usually the MAJOR factor I use when it comes to rating a book. Alina's character shone throughout this novel, and she had a great impact on the wonderful rating I'm giving this book. Orphaned early on in her life, she joined up with Mal, and he became her best friend. In the flashbacks, she seemed like a normal, mischievous child. If you dug a little deeper, you could tell that the events that happened to her as a child, impacted her young adult years. It was nice to see how Alina had grown between her child years to her present years, and then from the present years to the end of the book. Even between a few chapters, she grew greatly, but in a serious way. When she first learned she was a Grisha and a Sun Summoner, she didn't believe it. Even when she used her own powers, she didn't jump right on the bandwagon. She thought quite a bit about it, before giving into the idea. Pretty much, Alina becomes a pretty kick-ass character as the novel progresses and she learns how to fight and control her own powers. Awesome heroine, for the win!
The romance in this book really charmed me. Alina silently falls for the Darkling, one of the most powerful Grisha in the novel. He's mysterious, dark, and he seems pretty sweet. There's no doubt from when we first meet him that he has ulterior motives. That doesn't stop Alina for falling for him, much like every other girl in the Grisha kingdom. But then there's Mal, her best friend who she had to leave behind when she found out she was a Grisha. Their relationship is much more innocent, but still had passion, like the Darkling's relationship. For the first half of the novel, I was hoping that the Darkling and Alina would be together, but about halfway into the novel, my mind switched and I fell for Mal.
It's clear to see that I thought this novel was simply flawless. I mean, there were some downfalls, but Leigh Bardugo picked them up in a few chapters. I would have to suggest this book to anyone who enjoys high fantasy, or even to people that don't like it - maybe this is the book that will change your mind about high fantasy! Nonetheless, I dare you to pick up Shadow and Bone, because you'll fall in love with the words, the characters, and the world that Leigh Bardugo created just for us readers.
(PS. - I really hope I'm able to go to the signing on Aug. 31st at Anderson's! She's gonna be there!)