Publication Date: 7th June, 2012
Age Group: Young Adult
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The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.For the longest time this book felt like it was the book on everyone’s lips, and it was so out of my reach! I recently decided I’m only buying books on sale (my bank account bleeds books) and since I couldn’t find it at any of my local book shops, I was going to have to wait.
Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?
The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.
But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?
Last week however, something interesting happened. I saw The Gathering Darkness on the shelf at Dymocks. Noticing it was by Leigh Bardugo (and under the impression she’d only written one book), I picked it up and…viola!
I’d been looking for Shadow and Bone, while the Australian edition was published under a different title.
What I Liked: This was a wonderfully diverting excursion into high fantasy. The heroine, at twenty, is young but not childish. She is as naïve as any young girl entering adulthood, and I found I liked her much better than the usual wiser-than-thou teenage babies often encountered in YA lit.
The nature of her power is intriguing in numerous ways, from the way it is revealed, how she must free it and finally how powerful a player it makes her after a lifetime of insignificance as a war orphan. It even impacts her looks, following the interesting idea that repressing any part of your identity will have an effect.
I feel like complaining that there was very little adventure in the book, and at times it did feel like just another series set up (first book syndrome?), but mostly it kept me enthralled.
I liked following Alina’s training, her struggles to fit in, I liked her interaction with the Grishna and her friendship with Genya, but mostly I liked following along as she came into herself as a woman.
What I Didn’t Like: The eternal cry of the bibliophile: It was over so quickly! I want, I need, I crave more! It doesn’t help that I’m devouring Daughter of Smoke and Bone at the moment, now I have two new releases to wait impatiently for.
My only real issue was with Mal. He didn’t really get a chance to dazzle. I could understand the affection held for him, but I couldn’t feel it. In contrast I could feel her pull towards the Darling (obviously, I’m a sucker for the emotionally repressed *cough*Darcy*cough*) but Mal never really stepped onto my radar.
I’m very excited about the next book, but I enjoyed the style of the ending. The story certainly wasn’t finished, not by a long shot, but it had the feel of a short story ending – like it belongs to something bigger but could stand on its own.