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Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo Short and Sweet:I finally read Shadow and Bone!!! Ahhhh! Why did I wait so long? I loved it. This is a beautifully written story, with just the right balance of light & dark. I've already lent my copy out while in full-on 'book evangelist mode.' Just excellent!To Elaborate....I have been saving Shadow and Bone for that moment when I needed a guaranteed good read. I'm so glad to say that I feel this is an absolutely wonderful book. From beginning to end it was simply 'gripping.' I couldn't put it down!From the start, Miss Bardugo creates a nearly perfect tension. The world building is also so neatly done that I found myself wanting both to rush ahead to relieve the tension, and wait it out to thoroughly soak up the world of Shadow and Bone. On top of that, I am overly fond of every major character in this book. Even the Darkling. You know a book is good, when you like the 'bad guy' as much as any other character. ;)So, enough gushing: Alina and Mal have grown up together as orphans of war. As adults, they are now about to cross the Shadow Fold: a dark, shadowy expanse filled with creatures, Volcra, that devour many of those that venture into it. Alina is understandably tense as they make their final preparations. The story telling is so vibrant that I could see the moment they entered the Shadow Fold so clearly in my mind that I felt tense. *shudder*Once they are in the darkness of the Fold, it is only a matter of time before the Volcra locate such a large party and attack. Soon it becomes apparent that they are outnumbered and sure to die. However, during a particularly distressing moment of impending doom, Alina releases a power she had no idea she possessed. In fact, her power is so great that the Grisha (people with magic) almost immediately toss her in a carriage and race her to the castle for 'safe-keeping.' It seems that she alone may be able to destroy the Shadow Fold and restore freedom to Ravka. Within days of arrival, Alina begins her Grisha training, and we learn why she had not previously discovered her power. Ugh, the twist/shock/bang of an ending was just crazy! My mouth was hanging open. I couldn't breathe. I had to turn back pages and re-read earlier scenes to see if I missed some clue!!! You guys, get this book immediately if you have not already devoured it! A-MAZ-ING!!!(Originally posted @ iheartyafiction.blogspot.com)