Shadow and Bone was a unique book. Yes, it had the typical themes you often see going on within the genre, but it felt different.
You had the "bad" forces, which you kind of had a feeling from the beginning about. You had the crush worthy hero with whom you rooted for throughout the book. You had the nerdy, plain jane feeling girl and the almost "fairy God Mother". ALMOST
BUT, you also followed Alina, our rising star, through some inner turmoils and making some big decision. GOOD FOR HER. YOU GO GLEN COCO!!
Alina is an orphan who grew up with such a stud, always outshining her, Mal, who becomes her best friend. As we peek back at her old memories of the two getting into trouble together, sharing memories both good and bad and creating a bond that is near indestructible.
Alina and Mal join the army as they are in present day. Mind you, this is a world where dark forces are prevalent. What kind of dark forces you ask? Where a thick shadow mist cover masses of land and destroy everything inside. Think [b:Mistborn: The Final Empire|68428|Mistborn The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1)|Brandon Sanderson|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1312038619s/68428.jpg|66322] but not quite the same elements.
No one really knows how to defeat the darkness and its more, let's say, of a "hope" that you don't get eaten by whatever it is in this mist covering the land. I'm being vague and kind of contradicting myself here, as above I said it (the mist) "destroys" everything inside of it, yet it does both. So just continue on and once you start/finish the book understanding will come to you child. Kidding, although I do hope you understand what I mean.
So here we are, Alina miserable watching her crush slash best friend saunter through the crowd while she stumbles and slumps around. You can just picture it, the image of misery. And guess where they are heading? Go ahead....GUESS
!! Yessir, THE MIST
With Alina sweating her bottom off just thinking of entering it, let alone getting to the other side where the sea is, which she's never seen, and other supplies await. Just then, rolling by in the majestic carriage is what we are going to call the the upper echelon of the army, also known as the Grisha.
The Grisha - Elemental wielding ehh priest and priestess (can I just call the magicians?) They where robes that define their statuses. With their leader dresses in all black.
Alina and Mal board their boats, to take them across the darkness. Terrified, the entire army enters in their boats into the blackness. Darkness descends and then the fear cuts in, and along with the fear comes creatures, vaulting down at them and tearing mens limbs, really anything they could get their claws into. And then it's Mal's turn to get devoured, except....except.....
Alina saves him. But, but how? GO READ THE BOOK and you shall see.
You will not be disappointed.
What I will say, and this tends to happen with many YA books that also try to intermix culture into their adventure, this one happens to be Russian, is that many people will take offense if they feel that culture is not being portrayed in the light they want.
This is not history, this is not trying to insult anyones culture and I commend those authors, as long as they get their facts straight. It's introducing (hopefully) some curiosity into the reader so they explore more about the history. EXPAND OUR MINDS.
DELICIOUS READ. ATE IT UP.