Friday, December 25, 2015

The Grisha #1: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)Alina is sent to an orphanage along with her best friend, Mal. An examination shows they have no magical abilities, but that decision is proven wrong years later. They are heading to the Shadow Fold with the Darkling, the most powerful being in Ravka, and the king's army, when they're all attacked from the sky by hundreds of deadly volcra. Alina feels talons dig into her back but passes out in a huge blast of white light. When she awakens, she discovers she is actually a Grisha, specifically a rare Sun Summoner, and may be able to destroy the Shadow Fold. She has no idea how to use her powers, so she's sent to the king's castle for training. There, she learns to control her power to control light, but she also learns how it may be used to bring about the destruction of Ravka.

The idea of a character struggling to accept her new ability is not uncommon, but Alina has a real battle with her power. She fails to master the most basic ability for days, weeks, and months, and she becomes very frustrated. The plot focuses on her conflict with this problem, but it becomes a love story too. Alina has feelings for Mal but doesn't hear from him for months. The Darkling expresses a passion for her, but it can't be called love. His dark power is obviously the opposite of Alina's white light, and it always seems like his character is guarding a secret. There is some mature content in the book, nothing terrible, and I recommend it to middle school readers.

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