Editor's note: Four debut young adult authors, along with Marissa Meyer, the author of “Cinder,” will be in Salt Lake City on June 11 and Provo on June 12 as part of the Fierce Reads tour. The writers include Anna Banks, author of “Of Poseidon”; Leigh Bardugo, author of “Shadow and Bone”; Jennifer Bosworth, who penned “Struck”; and Emmy Laybourne, with “Monument 14.”
"Shadow and Bone" is a beautifully crafted novel full of magic, palaces, intrigue and romance. Leigh Bardugo has created a world that readers will long to be transported to.
Alina Starkov is just an orphan, raised to serve her kingdom of Ravka in the King's First Army. She's skinny, clumsy and sickly looking and always has bags under her eyes and, oh, that mousy hair. She's not exactly the ideal soldier, but she makes a fine cartographer, and she's just happy to be in the company of her best friend and fellow orphan, the hunky tracker-extraordinaire, Mal.
When they are sent into the Shadow Fold, a dark abyss full of flesh-eating abominations that separates Ravka and haunts its people, Alina fiercely protects a threatened Mal and it is discovered that Alina holds an incredible and very valuable power that could break the curse of the Fold and save her kingdom.
The Grisha are powerful and definitely have the perks that come with it. They are treated to personal trainers, hot baths in a copper tub and have four-poster canopy beds. This is in addition to their exceptional beauty, strength and powers. Though their lives may seem glamorous, as servants to the king, they do not have independence.
Alina is a likable character, though she isn’t the most confident. As she tries to navigate relationships that aren’t often clear, she often second-guesses herself. However, for lacking in self-confidence, Alina is remarkably self-aware. Though she craves to be accepted by her peers, she isn’t willing to act badly to obtain favor.
But the truly remarkable part of the novel is the depth of the world created by Bardugo. There is a whole set of vocabulary, scenery and fashion that blend together without crossing the line of slowing the plot. And its roots in Russian history definitely show.
"Shadow and Bone" has very little questionable content with only a few instances of profanity and violence. It would be best suited for teens over 14.
If you go ...
What: Fierce Reads tour with five young adult debut authors
When: Monday, June 11, 7 p.m.
Where: Salt Lake City Library Main Auditorium, 210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City
Note: Signing line tickets will be handed out at the door.
When: Tuesday, June 12, 7 p.m.
Where: Provo City Library Ballroom, 550 N. University Ave., Provo
Note: Free event tickets available at the adult services desk.
Emily Ellsworth is a blogger at Emily's Reading Room, a blog dedicated to promoting a love of young adult fiction. For book reviews, author interviews and more about the latest in young adult fiction, visit her blog at emilysreadingroom.com