Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

shadow-and-bone

Goodreads Blurb

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Review

I’m doing these reviews a little out of order. I actually read Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo before reading Shadow and Bone. Not that they are apart of the same series but from what I read (while reading Six of Crows) there are some small spoilers in the duology for the Shadow and Bone trilogy. Whoops! But I was already halfway through the book when I realized this so I finished reading it and then picked up Shadow and Bone before buying Crooked Kingdoms.

I read Shadow and Bone within 3 days. It was actually 4 but one day doesn’t count because my husband stole it away from me and decided to start reading it himself! Needless to say, we both loved the book and we’re fighting over it when we were on vacation in Oklahoma for New Years. Anytime one of us would set it down or go take a shower the other would steal the book! That’s how good this book was.

I think Leigh Bardugo is one of my new favorite authors! I think her world building skills are pretty close to those of Sarah J. Maas. I love the whole old-Russian feel to the plot. The names and places are very interesting. Most YA historical fiction stories take place in Europe like London or Scotland. I appreciated the change of scenery.

I also love fantasy so the Grisha concept intrigues me. I like how certain people are born with special abilities. Their abilities are really unique like summoning the sun, and being able to change the way people look, control of different elements such as wind, water, and fire. I think if I was born a Grisha I would want to be an inferni because it sounds really bad-ass to be able to control fire.

Alina and Mal are the main characters in the beginning. They’re orphans in Ravka who go live in a children’s home. Alina is actually Grisha but manages to suppress her powers until she’s almost a grown woman. Her fellow Ravkans and The Darkling (he’s basically a dark prince) find out about her powers when they’re trying to cross The Fold ( a place where there are demons that attack people). From there she is whisked away to the Palace to be trained as a proper Grisha. There she meets many people who she befriends and learns to harness her power as a Sun Summoner. How cool is that? She may be the only hope in destroying The Fold, and she thinks that’s what the Darklings plan is but by the end of the story some of the characters turn out not to be the people you thought they were. Alina and Mal must make an escape in order to save Ravka from the darkness that is about to encompass the land and for their lives.

I immediately ordered Siege and Storm (book 2) and Ruin and Rising (book 3) and Crooked Kingdoms (book 2 in the Six of Crows duology). I give Shadow and Bone 5/5.

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Saga by Brian K. Vaughn (Volume One)

saga

Goodreads Blurb

When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.

Review

I’ve been chewing this one over for a few days. I still feel like a newbie to the graphic novel world.. I’ve only been on the bandwagon for about 2 years now. I did read The Walking Dead graphic novels in college. Volumes 1-6 anyway. They got a little ridiculous. But I started reading The Lumberjanes and Nimona by Noelle Stevenson and then picked up Ms. Marvel on a whim almost two years ago.

I then heard about Saga on Instagram. I think it started to get popular due to all of the Star Wars movies coming out recently. It’s about a young couple who are not meant to be together but it starts off the story with their newborn daughter narrating their story. The woman is ex-military and the man was a soldier as well but they met at a prison and fell in love. The woman is giving birth to their daughter in the beginning of the graphic novel but they are on high alert since they are basically on the run since they’re countries are at war.

They go on a whirlwind adventure across the galaxy when a “prince”/military commander is told to find them at all cost. The commander is weird creature… He’s a man with a weird television head…right? Strange. Then there are these assassins that have been hired to find them too. Whoever finds them first gets paid and the other doesn’t. The man assassin is in love with the female assassin and she’s part spider and doesn’t wear a top. Yup! I cannot make this up people. This graphic novel is soooooooo odd. I think I would have enjoyed it more had it been a little less out there. It got to where it was hard to follow the story. The author was really out there and making stuff up.

While all this is taking place the couple and their newborn baby are racing across the galaxy and they meet this group of ghost-children and befriend a girl who needs a body host in order to leave the planet she’s one. She’s basically cut in half and you can see all of her organs hanging out from her stomach. It was disturbing. Maybe this is more of a guy graphic novel because it was hard for me to swallow.

Brian K. Vaughn has another graphic novel series out called  Paper Girls that I think I may enjoy better. It’s very 80’s looking. When I flipped through it at Barnes and Noble it gave me a Stranger Things feel. But instead of the motley crew in Stranger Things it’s a group of girls who have a paper route who are fighting villians. If anyone has read this I would love to hear what you thought about it!

Anyway, as for Saga, I’m thinking I probably won’t be buying the other volumes.