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I know, I know, I am a day late and a dollar short, but you know what they say: the early bird catches the worm, but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese…heh heh. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Okay, enough with bad clichรฉs, it’s time for the review!

Last week I listened to the audio version of Leigh Bardugo’sShadow and Bone.” This is the story of Alina, a lonely orphan who grows up with her best friend and fellow orphan, Mal. Of course as she gets older, she falls in love with Mal, but he never seems to notice her as more than a friend.

Then everything changes on the day their army units are sent to cross the Shadow Fold. Created hundreds of years ago by the Black Heretic, it is a sea of complete darkness filled with terrifying, ravenous creatures who prey on anyone brave enough, or foolish enough, to try and cross. In the heat of the battle, Alina’s true powers come out, and suddenly she’s whisked away by the Darkling, the most powerful “magician” in the land, to live at the Little Palace and study with the other magic users, the Grisha.

Alina becomes more and more intrigued by the Darkling. A powerful, dangerous man, it’s easy to see the allure, but she still can’t forget Mal. Then she learns something, something terrible, and the whole game changes for her…

Okay, so I really enjoyed this book. There are some of the usual things you see in YA – ordinary-seeming girl, doesn’t feel pretty enough but discovers super powers, gets a makeover, and goes from a rough life to a life of luxury, with hints of a love triangle in her future. But, about halfway through this book there’s a very nice twist, which changes everything. Also the setting and the Russian flavor throughout is very refreshing and makes this story feel unique.

I liked Alina as a character and I enjoyed the story enough that I’m already almost finished with the sequel, Siege and Storm. I especially recommend the audio version narrated by Lauren Fortgang.

How about you? Read any great books with unique settings lately? What’s the most unique setting you’ve ever read about?