Leigh Bardugo has created an embattled world, Ravka, inhabited by humans and a race of humans with great beauty and the power to manipulate the building blocks of this universe, the Grishas.
Humans for the most part envy and fear the Grishas, especially their leader, The Darkling. Ravka is divided by the Dark Fold, which separates the country from its coastal areas and ports.
At the heart of this story is Alina Starkov and her childhood friend Malyen “Mal” Orestsev, forever bound by their experiences together growing up in an orphanage with only each other to rely on.
At the opening of the story, both are serving in the Army; Alina is training as a cartographer; Mal is a tracker of exceptional talents.
They are making their first journey across the Fold, when Mal is attacked by a terrifying volcra, winged monsters that travel in flocks and attack anything crossing the fold.
Alina instinctively goes to save him and, without training or knowledge of what she is doing, draws on a previously hidden power. She is able to summon sunlight and crack through the darkness, saving Mal and terrifying the volcras, so the group can return to Kribirsk, on the land side of the fold.
But this startling act calls her to the attention of the Darkling, who immediately sends her to the Little Palace in Os Alta, the capital city, under guard.
There, as she learns the challenges of controlling her power, how to fight and Grisha history, she’s also exposed to the highly political world of the Grisha and the court. In this new and luxurious world, Alina quickly learns how hard it is to distinguish friend from foe.
Most dangerous of all is the Darkling, handsome, charming and always deceptive. His desire to control Alina and her sun-summoning power could very well make her a slave for eternity — unless she and Mal find a way to fight back.
This is a classic fantasy tale of good versus evil. Bardugo has done an excellent job of world building, creating a multi-tiered society with conflicts that are becoming more and more explosive as time passes.
SHADOW AND BONE is the basis for a Netflix series scheduled to be released in April 2021.
About the Author: Leigh Bardugo (1975 – )
Born in Jerusalem, Leigh Bardugo was raised by her grandparents in Los Angeles. One side of her Jewish family she is Spanish and Moroccan and the other side is Lithuanian and Russian. She graduated from Yale University in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in english. She worked in copywriting, journalism, make-up and special effects before publishing her first novel.
SHADOW AND BONE, published in 2012, was her debut novel and the first book in the Grisha trilogy. It was followed by SIEGE AND STORM (2013) and RUIN AND RISING (2014). The SIX CROWS and CROOKED KINGDOM duology was published by Macmillan in 2015 and 2016. It is set in same universe as the Grisha trilogy. THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS, a collection of Grisha fairy and folk tales was published by Macmillan in 2017.
Netflix is reportedly doing an eight-episode series based on the Grisha trilogy and the SIX OF CROWS duology.
Her fantasy world of Ravka is modeled after the Russian Empire of the early 1800s. As she explained it, “I think there’s tremendous power in the images we associate with Russian culture and history, those extremes of beauty and brutality that lend themselves to fantasy. . . Tsarist Russian gave me a different point of departure.”
So many books, so little time! I’m always searching for book recommendations and insights about whether I’d like a particular book.
This website grew out of a blog created for a book club. Its members were so diverse in their reading that the club eventually failed, but I’ve kept the blog as a guide to other readers.
I’m an avid reader with a passion for mysteries. But I have a wide-ranging curiosity that takes me diverse places as I read.
Please leave comments and book recommendations of your own. Happy reading!
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