Shadow And Bone Trilogy, by Leigh Bardugo

Much loved by hardcore fans for years this book series recently blew up on the main stream stage after the release of the first season of the Netflix adaptation.

A light touch YA fantasy series these books explore the masterfully crafted fantasy world of Bardugo. This universe expands into two other series of books yet this core series sets out the nature of the magic and political environment of the characters.

From the blurb of the first book, Shadow and Bone;

‘Alina Starkov is a solider. When her regiment is attacked whilst crossing the Shadow fold – a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters – Alina unleashes a dormant magic not even she knew she possessed.

‘Now Alina will enter a lavish world of royalty and intrigue as she trains with the Grisha – her country’s magical military elite – and falls under the spell of their notorious leaders, the Darkling. He believes Alina can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war-ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift.

‘But as Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she loves and the very future of a nation.’

In this first novel we watch as Alina, faced with the shadow fold and the death of her colleagues, unlocks a secret power never seen in this universe before. Together we charge into the complex upper courts of this world as Alina is groomed to destroy the shadow fold and free her nation of the divide that has separated her people for years.

As Alina fights to gain control of her unexplainable power she begins to uncover dark secrets within the courts of her nation’s capitol, and learns that the true plague of her country is a lot closer to home than the shadow fold.

From the blurb of the second book, Siege and Storm;

‘Alina Starkov’s power has grown, but not without a price. She is the Sun Summoner – hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she’s taken. But she and best friend Mal can’t outrun her enemies for long.

The Darkling is determined to claim Alina’s magic and use it to take the Ravkan throne. With nowhere else to turn, Alina enlists the help of an infamous privateer and sets out to lead the Grisha army.

But as the truth of Alina’s destiny unfolds, she slips deeper into the Darkling’s deadly game of forbidden magic. To save her country, Alina will have to choose between her power and the man she loves. No victory can come with sacrifice – and only she can face the oncoming storm.’

This second novel brings us out of the country we know and introduces us to the wider world. As Alina and Mal fight to survive together a wonderful cast of new characters draws them back into the fight, saving them and sacrificing with them, to ensure that they can win the final fight. Alina is forced to sacrifice more than she is willing in this second adventure and we are left wondering how much more is truly at play in the hidden underbelly of this dark universe.

The new cast of characters introduced in Siege and Storm adds a much-needed fire and passion to the second book, helping to carry this novel and universe into the greater depths Bardugo is striving to reach and providing a greatly needed humorous edge to the otherwise hard hitting plot line.

From the blurb of the third book, Ruin and Rising;

‘For Alina Starkov, time is running out. The Darkling rules from his shadow throne while she, broken by their previous battle, is under the dubious protection of the zealots who worship her as a Saint. And as Alina convalesces, she must also battle her conflicted feelings for the Darkling and her beloved Mal.

Her last hopes lie with the magic of a long-vanished ancient creature and the chance that an outlaw prince still survives.

As her allies and enemies race toward war, only Alina stands between her country and a rising tide of darkness that could destroy the world.’

In this final, action packed, novel Alina comes to the full extent of her powers. However, her greed and desperation has her chasing a greater, darker, power which she believes is the only way to end The Darklings dark reign.

As the losses pile high on both sides, we’re left wondering at what point Mal and Alina will have sacrificed too much. As the players fall into position to rebuild the world after the fall of the Darkling everything rests on Alina’s ability to destroy both him and the Shadow Fold, the ever-present threat which this story hinges around.

We give the Shadow And Bone Trilogy Three Stars.

Shadow And Bone ISBN – 978-1-51010-524-9 Cover Price - £7.99 Available as an eBook Published by Orion

Siege And Storm ISBN – 978-1-51010-526-3 Cover Price - £7.99 Available as an eBook Published by Orion

Ruin And Rising ISBN – 978-1-51010-525-6 Cover Price - £7.99 Available as an eBook Published by Orion

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