Shadows and Bone…by Leigh Bardugo

Not to be confused with Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Shadows and Bone is one of those un-put-downable books. It takes place a fantasy version of Russia, called Ravka, where in the center of the country is a huge black mass, separating the two sides. Inside this pitch black mass, called the fold,  is nothing but black sand and human-eating creatures called volcra. Unfortunately, many people try to journey through the fold, with few survivors. Alina Starkov is a cartographer in Ravka’s first army, and when she and her comrades attempt to cross the fold, she discovers something that shouldn’t even be possible. She can summon light, but there’s a catch; she can only summon it if the Darkling, the king’s right hand man and second army’s leader, is touching her. With this power, and enough practice, she will be able to finally blast apart the fold, and become Ravka’s new savior, and maybe even a saint. So with this in mind, without any say in this, an impossible bounty blooms on her head put there by Ravka’s ever-multiplying enemies, and she’s carted off to Ravka’s capitol, where she begins to reside in the palace where everyone like her stays. The people like are called Grisha. They have powers, from summoning fire, to stopping hearts. But Alina is unique, as the one ever to be able to summon pure light. The only one who can compete is the mysterious Darkling, a man who can summon darkness. Together, they’re supposed to vanquish the fold. In a palace where no one is every completely honest, and everyone has their own motives and secrets, can Alina ever make it? And when she begins to fall deeper in Ravka’s  endless chasm of nobles, politics, and impossible expectations, will she have to let go of everything, and everyone who matter to her most in order to save her country? Leigh Bardugo weaves in beautiful, elegant novel filled with intricate, real, characters, that needs to be on your summer reading list.

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