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shadowIn Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo we are introduced to the land of Ravka.  Ravka has been torn in two by the shadow fold – a dark and deadly place.  We also meet orphans, Mal and Alina.  When they were children, they were tested by the Grisha to see if they possessed any special powers.  Children with magical abilities are made into Grisha and are trained to develop their talents.  Neither one passed the test.  Mal and Alina grow up and join their nation’s army.  Mal is a tracker, and Alina is a mapmaker. On a trip through the shadow fold with their regiment, Mal is attacked, and Alina discovers a secret power she did not know she had when she saves his life. Alina’s startling ability attracts the attention of the Darkling, and she is taken away from everything she knows to develop her talent.

I am late coming to this series.  I saw the book when it first came out in 2012, but its synopsis didn’t appeal to me.  I’m sorry now that it took me so long to give it a try.  There is more to this book than what was covered in the blurb.  I really enjoyed it!  Alina is a well-written and likable character.  I could feel her confusion, desperation and wonderment. She learns a lot about herself and grows along the way.  There is danger and darkness, and she doesn’t know who she can trust. It’s a fairly quick read, and I found myself racing through it. I have already downloaded the second book so that I can continue with the story.