Read this: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.

I started Shadow and Bone on Friday (22 June), following an incident in a local supermarket when a over-zealous man of the ‘suited and booted’ variety attempted to run through me as opposed to negotiate his way around me and my overflowing shopping basket; resulting in an injury to the lumber region of my back, severe pain and difficulty moving (in general). Even flexing my big toe is excruciating! Consequently, I’ve been laid up at home, feeling somewhat sorry for myself. And so it seemed appropriate to immerse myself in a good book. And good it was! I read, and read, and read some more! I fought off sleep for this book, which is saying something! Usually when I’m tired I fall asleep on any book I’m reading … and drool on the pages!

What I enjoyed most was the setting of this book. It was Russia but it was not, typically, Russia. There was magic but it was unusual, unprecedented magic. There were strange, ferocious creatures I’ve never seen or heard described before. There were friends and enemies, and enemies who employed the guise of friends. It was unknown and imaginative and it totally played into my curiosity with all things Eastern European, while still being its own world.

I loved the character Alina! In a world of predominantly serious heroines, she was comical, which made a refreshing change. She was also strong and held an overwhelming sense of self that carried her through some rather arduous times. That’s not to say she didn’t make mistakes – she did! But I find that there is something endearing in a flawed-but-strong character.

The most significant thing, though, about the novel is that I wanted to read it again when I had finished. This rarely happens to me, even when I love a book. There are only two reasons why I will consider reading a book again – if I think I will get something different out of the book by reading it again; or if I want to immerse myself in that World again. Shadow and Bone illicit all of that in me, as I hope it will in you too.

Read this ….

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