You’re soon drawn in to Alina and Mal’s world, from peasants living in a mythical word of Ravka, captured as a cold, unforgiving landscape, with shadows of Tsarist Russia. The descriptions of the vast landscapes and travels across the unforgiving terrain make you feel as though you have ventured with them.
I’m always complaining that there aren’t enough female heroines in literature, many books are just full of swooning blondes who only seem to want to find a man, and it’s really difficult to find a female protagonist with any real depth of character. Shadow and Bone addresses this balance nicely, giving as Alina, sassy, sarcastic, strong, but with heart and we’d be surprised if readers aren’t rooting for her from the start.
All the characters, Alina, Mal and later the Darkling are strong characters, it’s really easy to conjur them up in your minds and imagine what they might do. Bardugo’s writing literally jumps off the page at you and it’s difficult to believe that this is her debut novel.