Why did I love this book?
Shadow and Bone has two of my favorite tropes: unrequited love and a dark handsome antagonist who may, or may not, turn out to be a romantic lead. But what makes this book unforgettable for me is the world the author has created.
Based on 19th Century Russia, with a tzar-like king, a powerful church, and saints loving peasantry, Ravka is a world in constant war; its people divided between those who have powers (Grisha) and those who don’t. It’s also physically divided in two by the Unsea, a dark sand desert haunted by monsters, that runs north to south and restricts vital trade coming from the western coast.
When Alina is revealed to have the power to summon light, she becomes Ravka’s most precious weapon, for her light, they hope, will destroy the darkness of the Unsea and give Ravka the ultimate power over its enemies.