This review also appears on Books of AmberWho wants to hear about that time I was in a major reading slump and I couldn't get out of it? I tried everything, from YA to MG to a Spartacus TV show tie-in, but nothing was working. Then Judith harassed tweeted me once again about how I should be reading Shadow and Bone. Considering I wasn't getting into the Spartacus book, I decided that I might as well at least try this book that Judith has been going on and on and on about. So I did. And to my amazement, my cursed reading slump was broken. All thanks to Judith and Leigh Bardugo's fabulous writing.I feel like I should start off by declaring my love for Alina. She is such an amazing, badass character. There were several times throughout the novel where she gave me goosebumps because of something she said or did. I adored how much she cared for Mal as well. Her character growth was really interesting to watch as she was sucked in by the Grisha and their world. Alina also got to use her powers and it was AMAAAAAZING. If you follow me on Twitter then you probably saw my fangirling.Mal and Alina made me tear up near the beginning. That pretty much sets the scene for how I felt about them during the rest of the book. Their friendship is the best. You get to see some flashbacks from when they were younger and still in the orphanage, and those also made me cry a bit. Or a lot.Mal did piss me off in the middle of the book. His attitude stinks, and I am fiercely protective of Alina, so I was mentally shouting at Mal to grow the fuck up. That doesn't mean I don't like him, though, because I most definitely do. And he eventually got over his judgy, bitter attitude, although I hope that continues to improve during the second book. Otherwise he can suck it.As for the Darkling... Well, can we talk about this guy for a minute? *takes a deep breath* I'm trying very hard not to fangirl over him right now. The Darkling is so ridiculously charming and compelling. I felt the draw that a lot of the characters felt towards him coming straight off the page. He radiates it. I'm not sorry to say that I totally ship him with both Alina and Mal. OT3 ftw!I adored Leigh Bardugo's writing. I was completely absorbed by it, and by the world that she has created here. I especially enjoyed her use of symbolism when it came to certain spoilery objects, as well as Alina's scar and how she used symbolism to show Alina becoming engrossed in the Grisha world. I rarely comment on writing techniques when I review books (I save that for the TV fangirling), but this really stood out to me. It's exactly the kind of stuff I would love to write or read about in the form of meta on Tumblr. Or, failing that, Tatum and I would discuss at length at 3AM and cry over it. Yes, we do that a lot. One time I had her sobbing over my thoughts on Gannicus' character growth. *coughs*Shadow and Bone is a really great book. I'm trying to think of something that would improve it, but I'm mostly coming up blank. Maybe a more intense romantic relationship between Mal and Alina, rather than just the BFFs-to-lovers thing. Maybe they'll have better sexy times in the following books. Or maybe Alina will fall in love with a pirate.