Bardugo, Leigh. Shadow and Bone. Macmillan/Henry Holt 358p $17.99
978-0-8050-9459-6 hs VG-BN Fantasy
Swept up in a border war as a mapmaker, young Alina is pulled away from her military service and into the camp of the Grisha, a magical people who support the world’s royalty. Here she becomes the favorite of the Darkling, whose powers eclipse those of all of the other Grisha. Alina learns the truth about the Darkling’s plans for her and comes to realize that she is more powerful than the Darkling. This knowledge allows her to turn the Darkling’s plans from enlarging The Fold (an area of darkness and foul creatures) into destroying the Fold and protecting her world.
The author’s use of historical Russia as the foundation for this story of magical realism is unusual and effective. Tsarist-like royalty and a Rasputin-like character play an important role in this wonderful fantasy novel, which is the first book in a planned trilogy. The author has done a fantastic job of providing a history of the world while simultaneously weaving a story that sustains the readers’ interest through to the end. The character of Alina is portrayed as strong and increasingly powerful, and she plays well against the powerful and charming bad guy, the Darkling. This book would be a highly recommended addition to any high-school or public library collection where there is a following for the fantasy genre.
Fantasy – Fiction, Magic – Fiction -- Lynn Fisher