Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo Appeal Characteristics Russian roots, fantastic world-building, character development, plot, gothic-like elements, violence, pacing

This was a fantastic read! It had been a long time since I was dropped into a world that I could swim easily in not really knowing what this was out. Actually it was a fantastic imagination builder...but only if you like the unknown fantasy elements. The pacing was so engrossing that I felt these 358 pages fly by...and usually those types of fantasies don't fly by. I think even Shadow and Bone moved Slower than this one. I do think the difference is that Shadow and Bone wanted you to connect deeply with the characters and while Daughter of Smoke and Bone had really good character development, it wasn't the predominant part of the story. It was more like "extras" to the story...where Daughter of Smoke and Bonecharacterization is the very core itself. ANYWAY! I really loved how this book had soooo much implied adult content, but the author figured you were smart enough to make your own judgements and move on. I loved that aspect! I think young readers will get a kick out of being treated like adults...especially when Alina is in adult situations. I think it's fun to see how I was so transported to their world of this monarch type serfdom...that our "traditional" moralistic views of dos/don't of sexual content didn't even factor in this story. I mean the main character doesn't even really know her age. :) That was awesome! ON to the plot before I start giving away spoilers....

Meet Alina and Mal. Two orphans who were tested for Grisha but failed. They joined in the army and started to make their own life there. Lets add the element of a suicidal mission into the Shadow Fold, the fact that Mal is about to die...and Alina is going to do anything in her power to not let that happen. Welcome to Shadow and Bone!