Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Alina Starkov was an orphaned girl who grew to be an unremarkable girl, or so she believed. When her regiment is attacked by monstrous creatures immerging from the Shadow Fold (a dark and evil portal that has infiltrated Ravka), a bright light seems to come from Alina pushing back the monsters. Now, Alina is one of the elite Grishas that serve the powerful Darkling and the king. Everyone believes Alina’s new-found power will bring about the end of the Shadow Fold, if she can just harness her abilities. But as Alina spends more time at the palace, she uncovers a dark conspiracy that will threaten the entire kingdom.
Alina is sweet and humble, and finds it impossible to believe that she could hold so much power. Her chemistry with both her long-time friend Mal and the Darkling is stirring. Bardugo’s world of Grisha’s with their different abilities ranging from healing to manipulating appearances is magical and mysterious. I never fully understood what the Shadow Fold is nor why it has such a violent effect on the land and people. But it’s a successful tool at creating suspense and mystery. Shadow and Bone is an exciting start to a new fantasy series. Full of adventure, mystery, drama, and suspense – I enjoyed every minute of this debut. Shocking twists and intriguing characters made this surprising YA fantasy impossible to put down.
Shadow and Bone will release from Henry Holt and Co. on June 5, 2012.