Ravka was once a beautiful nation, but when the Black Heretic released the Shadow Fold it was split in two – unleashing terror on the people. The Shadow Fold is a thick black fog filled with dangerous monsters that feast on human flesh. The only hope to cross the dangerous expanse is with the help of the Grisha, a magically elite force led by the mysterious Darkling. All children are tested to see if they have the power to become one of the Grisha. If a child exhibits signs of one of the three categories of Grisha they are taken to the Little Palace for training so they can learn to control their power. Once trained, the Grisha join the ranks of The Second Army to fight along side the King’s First Army in the civil war that has been raging for years.
Alina and Mal are inseparable best friends. They have been each other’s support since childhood when they both ended up at Duke Keramsov’s estate after both losing their parents. They, like other children, were tested by the Grisha, but neither exhibited any signs of power. Eventually, when old enough, both Alina and Mal joined the First Army – Mal as a soldier and Alina as a cartographer. Unfortunately, their regiment is set to cross the Shadow Fold and Alina is as scared as she has ever been.
Alina and Mal are in the same boat on the way across the Unsea and the monsters begin to attack as soon as they enter the black fog. When her friend and fellow cartographer is pulled from the boat all she can do is crouch low and hope she isn’t next, but when the monsters make their move for Mal she can only think to save him. As she throws herself on top of Mal, all she sees is a bright light before losing consciousness.
It turns out she didn’t just save Mal, but everyone else in the boat too. It seems she has power after all.
Alina is immediately taken to the Little Palace for training. The Darkling takes a particular interest in her and Alina finds herself immersed in the world of magic. While everything seems amazing – a comfortable bed to sleep in, wonderful food, and even a new friend, there is something about all the attention she doesn’t like. Eventually, she realizes things aren’t as they seem and wishes she had Mal with her like she always has in the past.
Alina’s life changed completely on the day she saved Mal in the Shadow Fold. Is she strong to save the rest of the world next?
SHADOW AND BONE is a beautifully written story involving magic, friendship, and love. Alina is a great character and I look forward to following her on her journey in the fight against evil.
Visit Leigh’s website to find out more about the book.