Firstly, we both really enjoyed this book, the characters, the story line and the intricate details of the World of Ravka.
Leigh has managed to create a World which is intriguing, mysterious and (most importantly) unique. Shadow and Bone moves at a really enjoyable pace - Leigh manages to build up characters and relationships without making the plot line drag.
The main character, Alina, does have a slightly cliché rags to riches style story arc but there are many unexpected and enjoyable twists and turns which keep her storyline fresh. The central storyline of this book is Alina's personal journey and her development from an unassuming, normal, cartographer into a strong woman who discovers her own potential. We found Alina's character very relatable which made accompanying her on her journey all the more satisfying.
The dreaded love triangle which seems to be atypical to this genre also rears its head - but, this love triangle is not what you're expecting and it is far, far juicier and more engaging than the love triangle in Twilight. This love triangle will leave you confused and conflicted over who you are rooting for and thankfully no one comes across as a pitiable third wheel is this novel.
For us,The Darkling steals the show in this book. He is enigmatic, powerful, mysterious and oozes sex appeal. If this book is ever made into a film (and we hope that it is!) this is the character that the casting director needs to get right.
But that's not to say that Mal, the other gentleman in our love triangle is overshadowed. We worried at first that Mal would be slightly lacking in substance, but Mal earns the respect of the reader and takes his rightful place as a leading man in this book.
One of our favourite quotes from the book is "The moment our lips met, I knew with pure and piercing certainty that I would have waited for him forever." As a quote it's not the most enlightening and out of context it's a little cringy but this book is one to fan girl over! And trust us when you're reading it in context - it's perfect.
If you are a fan of books with adventure, romance and magic then you won't be able to put this book down but don't take our word for it, just take a look at the books impressive Goodreads rating of 4.11 out of 5. We can't wait to get our hands on the next book in the series is Storm and Seige. And please, please let there be a movie.