By Leigh Bardugo
If you're looking for a great, easy-to-follow, immersive fantasy novel with lots of other connected books, you've come to the right place!
Recommended Age Level: 12+
First Book in a Trilogy
My rating: 4.5/5
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.
I really enjoyed reading this book! The plot had lots of twists and turns, and I loved getting to meet all of the different characters, many of whom reappear in other series in the Grishaverse (the universe in which Shadow and Bone takes place). If you want to start reading Grishaverse books, this is the chronological beginning of the story, so I would start here. The rest of the books (in my opinion) are even better than this one, and I liked this book a lot. If you like intricate and fascinating worldbuilding accompanied by plot twists and awesome characters, this book is for you! (As an added bonus, it was just adapted as a Netflix TV show!)
Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo (the rest of the trilogy)
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (also in the Grishaverse)
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna