Friday, August 1, 2014

Review: Smoke and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Book Info:
Title: Shadow and Bone
Series: The Grisha #1
Paperback, 372 pages
Published by Square Fish
Release Date: May 7th 2013
Goodreads| Amazon| B&N

Alina Starkov doesn't expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, she is sure of only one thing: her best friend, Mal--and her inconvenient crush on him. Until the day their army regiment enters the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. When their convoy is attacked and Mal is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power not even she knew existed.

Ripped from everything she knows, Alina is taken to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. With Alina's extraordinary power in his arsenal, he believes they can finally destory the Fold. Now Alina must find a way to master her untamed gift and somehow fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. As the threat to the kingdom mounts and her dangerous attraction to the Darkling grows, Alina will uncover a secret that could tear her heart--and her country--in two.
My Review:
Is it weird to say I honestly did not say I was going to like this book? I had seen Smoke and Bone around through reviews and at bookstores but it never caught my interest. In actuality I probably would never have checked out this book at all if I hadn’t gone to RT and gotten a free copy. Needless to say after I started reading Smoke and Bone I could have slapped myself in the head for waiting as long as I did to read this amazing book. 

Alina is an orphan and so is her crush and long time best friend Mal. Mal and Alina grew up together but they have been drifting further and further apart. Alina doesn’t believe she’s anything special. She can hardly ever sleep, she looks constantly sick, and is completely untalented in her opinion. Then they go on a mission into the Fold and everything changes. Her ship and Mal are attacked and Alina lets out a bright powerful light that saves everyone. Now Alina is being taken by the Darkling so she can be trained by the Grisha. Only she doesn’t believe she’s a Grisha, all she wants is to go home. With secrets around every corner and the Darkling’s handsome face trying to help her Alina is in a whole new world which is just as dangerous and the Fold.

At the beginning of Smoke and Bone I had trouble getting into this book only because some of the language was extremely different and it didn’t explain very well what anything was. As the book goes farther though and the terms are used more in different contexts I figured out what almost everything was. Honestly this is probably my only complaint about this book.

Alina’s story is definitely awesome. While she’s unsure of herself throughout most of the book I didn’t find it annoying except for maybe when she was giving up on trying. However, she brought back the awesome so I wasn’t too bothered by it. Alina is one of the only of her kind in the Grisha community which really puts her on the outs even with her own people. Alina’s crush on Mal didn’t really make sense to me except that she craved his knowing her forever until near the end of the book when they meet again. 

Mal is definitely not the typical guy I would enjoy in a book. Something about him in the beginning made me not like him, like the fact he took Alina for granted. Although he does redeem himself much much later in the book I am still not totally in love with his character. 

The Darkling is sexy appeal and all powerful. Many people are afraid of him but he seems so incredibly nice throughout the book. I really enjoyed the scenes with him and Alina and found him to be ubber sexy. 

Now due to Mal and the Darkling being somewhat love interests I will tell you now that as far as I can tell this is not a love triangle. So, no need to worry if you aren’t into love triangles Smoke and Bone does not that any of that going on.

Ms. Bardugo definitely packed a lot of mystery, tragedy, and action into this first installment of the Grisha trilogy. Some people get cut in half, others get eaten by flying things that used to be human, others die of the cold and the list can go on and on. Lots of people die, and lots of people get hurt. Smoke and Bone honestly reminds her of the Graceling series and the Seven Realms series. Both of which are awesome by the way. I honestly had no clue who the bad guy was until all was revealed. It was a complete shock to me. I was totally in it with Alina and then as soon as the truth was revealed all I could think was “Woah, I so did not see that coming.”

Overall, I really enjoyed Smoke and Bone. The characters both good and bad were awesome because they felt real. The whole world felt read and so I need to give props to the fantastic writing by Ms. Leigh Bardugo. Can’t wait to read the sequel!

Teaser: "Then a cry rent the air beside me. I gasped as Alexei's arm was yanked from mine.In a spurt of flame, I saw him clutching at the railing with one hand. I saw his howling moth, his wide, terrified eyes, and the monstrous thing that held him win its glistening gray arms."

Swoon: "His hand slid down to my hip. I felt a little trill of panic as my skirt slid higher and his fingers closed on my bare thigh, but instead of pulling away, I pushed closer to him."

Leigh Bardugo is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Grisha Trilogy: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising. She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and most recently, makeup and special effects. These days, she’s lives and writes in Hollywood where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band. Her new book, The Dregs, arrives fall 2015.

Find Ms. Bardugo here: Website| Blog| Facebook| Twitter| Goodreads

Have any of you read Smoke and Bone yet? Did you like it or dislike it?

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