When catastrophe strikes and puts the lives of all she holds dear in danger, a powerful magic begins to spill forth from her, chasing out the blackness that threatened to engulf her and her friends.
However, with this new-found power comes new-found responsibility. Almost immediately after her power manifests, Alina is swept up into a world of politics and intrigue that she couldn't possibly have hoped to understand before. The Darkling, the enigmatic and handsome leader of the Grisha, promises to protect her and tells her of his plan to have her forge an amplifier from the antler of the stag from Morozova’s herd.
Not everything in the palace is as it seems, and Alina must navigate her way through a bevy of people whose only interest in her is the power that she could harness and others who want to hurt her because of it. The hardest part of Alina's journey may well be figuring out just who to give her trust to.
The Russian elements added to the story help to keep the standard fantasy storyline fresh and interesting. Alina is an extremely relatable character, it's easy to put yourself into her shoes and understand why she makes the decisions that she does. Her heart longs for Mal, who she had to leave behind to start her journey, and The Darkling tries his best to fill that void for her. Mal's character is a bit one note, though he is not given much story-time to really shine or grow.
Shadow and Bone is fairly fast-paced and the twists are enough to keep you on your toes while reading. Easily one of the better fantasy books out there for young adults, and a shouldn't miss for fans of the genre.
The sequel, Siege and Storm is already released. The final book in the trilogy, Ruin and Rising, will be released June 17th of this year.
Similar Books: Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas, Touch of Power by Maria Snyder.