Shadow and Bone is the perfect novel for fans of Legend of Korra or Red Queen. Leigh Bardugo’s debut novel reflects on true friendship, betrayal, the power of emotions, and how perception and deception walk hand and hand.
The kingdom of Ravkas only hope in making it out of the war intact is to destroy the Unsea, a valley composed of literal darkness, which blocks the country from the marine ports which are vital to supplying its army. The magical elite, the Grisha, lead the war effort under the command of the terrifying Darkling, while Alina attempts to control her newly discovered powers which could be the key to destroying the Unsea forever.
Alina’s own journey to self discovery is intertwined with her struggle to chose between the Darkling and Mal. The Darkling is plays the classic, unattainable bad boy, while Mal plays is the boy-next-door that has yet to really look Alina’s way yet. In Bardugo’s dark world, the Darkling is the all powerful commander of the Grisha, and Mal is Alina’s best friend growing up as an orphan and is the only person that ever truly cared for her since before she could remember. Everything about Alina and her powers in caused by the presence of them two men, the intensity is reminiscent of Twilight. Despite her incredible powers, her submissive role to the male characters of the novel does not contend a strong sense of feminism from its heroine.
As she makes friends with a beautiful outcast, she also makes enemies with those jealous of her rare abilities, and all the while tries to catch up with all the time she has lost. Fighting to find her place, Alina’s struggle to fit in among the Grisha is reminiscent of high school, but high school with unimaginable powers and an impending sense of doom.