Title: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre (this is new): Fantasy.
Synopsis (taken from Goodreads. Heh.):
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.
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 fulfill 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?
Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.
So I'm back from camp and with a lot of real life shipping drama going on (I won't spill the details). I had to go back to this book for a bit to review what it was about.
I didn't know what to think of this book. The mythology is apparently based in Russia, so the entire fantasy universe is supposed to be like a Russian fairy tale or something. But according to people who bothered to understand the rules of Russian, the names and titles of things in Ravka were apparently either grammatically unsound or just...mundane. For example, the magical people are called Grisha. Apparently it's just a Russin version of Greg or something. It's like me writing a beautiful fantasy landscape with a dazzling adventure and going, oh let's just call the people Bob or John. I mean, come on. If you wanna be serious shit and use Russian and all that to sound smart, at least do some proper research. Richella Mead carried it off perfectly fine. I mean, her protagonist's boyfriend Dimitri was Russian, and she paid a visit to his hometown, and while it wasn't such a huge part of the book, it was way more accurate. *face whap*
Bardugo tried to make the world immersive and I liked that. However, a lot of the details about the plot just confused the heck out of me because it wasn't explained properly. I mean, Leigh Bardugo? Do you honestly expect me to know what a Grisha is? And the whole "Grisha court" thing was basically a highschool situation, with all the magical wonderful things for the setting. Girl fights, gossip, rivalry, lessons, hot guys, all that.
What I did like was the Darkling. I mean, I just love this guy to bits. He's hot, he's sexy and all that, but the thing is, he's actually completely evil. You get deceived for so long and then it just slaps you in the face and I loved it. Amazing.
The action was really weird, though and the whole plot was filled with freaky stuff. Though Alina's internal conflict was pretty okay. It was well written and her relationship with Mal was developed enough to be believable (unlike her relationship with Darkling. Dear god.)
Basically to summarize, I liked Darkling as a character, though not as a person, if you get my meaning. Alina was pretty weird as a protagonist and pretty unreliable a narrator. For some reason I kepy forgetting it was in first person. I don't know if it was something about the writing style or...? But the action was pretty good to lead up to the next book which I will be reading shortly.
Grade: B. Pretty decent book, I guess. World building was fine, but the characters were questionable.