Looking for a fantasy adventure and the first book in a new series? Look no further than Shadow and Bone, book one of The Grisha series. Here you will find some familiar themes in teen fantasy: an orphan with a great destiny revealed to her, a land ruled by magic and mortals vying for power, a great darkness that must be conquered before it takes control of every last living creature, casting them into uncontrollable chaos. The pace is fast, exciting, and the pages are filled with frightening conflict.
Especially unnerving are the flesh-eating creatures who live in the swath of black magic that has cut off the coastline from the land-locked remainder of the country.
Alina and Mal were raised together in an orphanage, their parents killed in the endless wars between countries. Each child is tested for magical ability at a young age and neither Alina nor Mal showed signs of grisha, or magical power. Years later Alina, now a mapmaking apprentice to the army, is sent into the darkness where her true power leashes for the first time, revealing itself to those of even greater power who will manipulate Alina to their plans. Alina, torn from Mal just when she is realizing how much she loves him (and how unlikely it is that popular, good-looking Mal returns her love) finds herself thrust into a world of privilege she has only ever seen from the outside. As she tries to master her power, she becomes the student and focus of The Darkling, the most powerful magician of her world, and one whose authority is both frightening and alluring.
An excellent start to what I hope to be an excellent series. Highly recommended for fans of fantasy. I am already waiting for the second book, which is out, so if you start and love this series, you won't have to wait long for the next installment.