I'm going to break my tradition and post a review this Wednesday instead of participating in my usual Waiting on Wednesday meme. I may start alternating Wednesdays so I can make sure to post some reviews here!
Goodreads Book Description: Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, the one thing she could rely on was her best friend and fellow refugee, Mal. And lately not even that seems certain. Drafted into the army of their war-torn homeland, they’re sent on a dangerous mission into the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh.
When their convoy is attacked, all seems lost until Alina reveals a dormant power that not even she knew existed. Ripped from everything she knows, she is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. He believes she is the answer the people have been waiting for: the one person with the power to destroy the Fold.
Swept up in a world of luxury and illusion, envied as the Darkling’s favorite, Alina struggles to fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But as the threat to the kingdom mounts, Alina uncovers a secret that sets her on a collision course with the most powerful forces in the kingdom. Now only her past can save her . . . and only she can save the future.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
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Shadow and Bone Review
This book has been overwhelmingly rated well across the boards. So I knew I had to read this one, and I'm glad I did!
PROS: This book is very creative. I agree with the reviews that say they've never seen anything like this. I loved the back story of the Grishas, and it was interesting how the author portrayed this world as a dystopian Russia (possibly a shout out to the reigns of some blood thirsty leaders). We are swept from a dark and poor orphanage to the most wealthy splendor possible. The characters are engaging, and my two favorites were supporting characters-- the wonderful and three dimensional Genya, the makeup artist Grisha, and Baghra, the grouchy teacher. Alina is likeable and has enough room to grow. Mal is a winning love interest and the Darkling was for lack of a better phrase, darkly ominous.
CONS: I guess one of my issues with this book is that Alina seems so American in a Russian-like war torn world. This wouldn't have been as big of an issue since this isn't TECHNICALLY Russia, but everyone else seems more Russian than she does. And was I the only one that thought the Darkling was in no way sexy but just way beyond creepy? He's 120 years old, totally acts really old, and then starts hitting on Alina. I know we are supposed to swoon, but I was more squicked than anything else.
That said, this is an original and fascinating start to a new trilogy. I'll be getting my hands on the next one!
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1) International Giveaway of signed copy of Night of the Purple Moon by Scott Cramer OR hard back copy of Fear: A Gone Novel
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2) Prize pack giveaway (US only) of ALL FOUR of Antony John's books signed (Five Flavors of Dumb, Busted, Thou Shalt Not Road Trip, and the unreleased YA dystopian, Elemental)
Antony John Giveaway