A review of the incredible fantasy series that is now on Netflix.
“Shadow and Bone” by Leigh Bardugo is a masterful work of fantasy. Following the life of one seemingly ordinary girl, Alina Starkov, Bardugo takes us on a magical journey through the country of Ravka and its surrounding lands. This series is a well-balanced mix of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and a dystopian story that has an overwhelming number of surprises that will keep you needing to read just one more chapter.
From the beginning, there are secrets that are revealed and legends that become truth, all of which Alina has to navigate. It’s quickly revealed that Alina is the long-hoped-for Sun Summoner that is meant to take down the Fold, a dark and dangerous wall that has split the two sides of Ravka for centuries. Alina is plucked from the ranks of the first army where she was a cartographer. With no experience or ability to wield her power, Alina now has to learn to control her gift and also find her place in this new world she had not even dreamed of being part of.
Her world is turned upside down as she is thrown into a new life, a life that puts her on a pedestal and has everyone paying attention to her. Everyone is expecting her to be the powerful grisha (someone with magical abilities) that will tear down the Fold and reunite Ravka. Bardugo does an amazing job of creating the two worlds that Alina has known. The clear differences in mindset and storyline between Alina’s time in the first army and the Little Palace.
Bardugo leaves you in awe with every secret she reveals throughout the series. Each turn is more and more captivating and adds even more drama to the story. The unique and dark history of Ravka and the grisha is long and complicated, but Bardugo takes the time to explain it in detail through storytelling and rumors being spread throughout the Little Palace.
This series, much like “A Court of Thorns and Roses,” is a beautiful work of fantasy that is developed well throughout three novels. Bardugo does not hold back her imagination as she tells the story of the Sun Summoner and her friends. As for a rating, I’d give this series a 3.5/5. It’s a bit slow at first, but once you get into it, you can’t stop reading.