Shadow and Bone

By Leigh Bardugo

Published: 2012

AR level: 5.3

AR points: 12.0

Word count: 81,215

I suggest: 7th grade+

When I selected Shadow and Bone from my Netflix menu, I had no idea I was stepping into the Grishverse. Little did I know that the intriguing show is based on a young adult trilogy that takes the reader deep into the heart of a complex and totally captivating world of magic. As soon as I knew that it was a book, I had to read it.

The novel introduces the idea of this horrifically magnificent “Fold,” a dark and dangerous sea-like area that must be crossed to reach the other side of the country. Magic is needed to destroy it, and the main character may be the only one who can.

This first book has a taste of the entire Asian continent with a particularly Russian feel to the language and garments. But beyond that, the main character, Alina, is smart, defiant, and vulnerable, and she makes the first-person narrative difficult to put down.

However, my only disappointment in the book was that it didn’t contain the characters of Kaz, Inej, and Jesper from the show. I discovered they have their very own series, also by Bardugo, that begins with Six of Crows.

Well, I guess I just have a great deal more reading to do!

Here’s the description from Publisher:

Soldier. Summoner. Saint. Orphaned and expendable, Alina Starkov is a soldier who knows she may not survive her first trek across the Shadow Fold—a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. But when her regiment is attacked, Alina unleashes dormant magic not even she knew she possessed.

Now Alina will enter a lavish world of royalty and intrigue as she trains with the Grisha, her country’s magical military elite—and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes Alina can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war-ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift.

As the threat to the kingdom mounts and Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she loves and the very future of a nation. 

Welcome to Ravka . . . a world of science and superstition where nothing is what it seems. 

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