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Bardugo, Leigh.
New York : Henry Holt, 2012

(4 booktalks)
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Booktalk #1

Ravka, a land constantly at war with its neighbors, is divided in two by the “Unsea,” an almost impenetrable swath of darkness infested with flesh-eating monsters called volcra. Alina Starkov, an orphan of the Border Wars, has spent most of her life in an orphanage along with her best friend and secret crush, Mal. In Ravka, Grisha Examiners test every child for magical abilities. When neither Alina nor Mal shows any talent for magic, they are assigned to the less glamorous tasks of map-making and tracking. But on their first crossing through the Unsea, they are attacked by volcra. Mal is nearly killed and Alina’s magic finally reveals itself: she is a Sun-Summoner, the only one who can bring light into the Unsea and reunite all of Ravka. She’s quickly whisked away into the glamorous world of the Grisha elite and their mysterious leader, the Darkling. As Alina struggles to adapt to a world of rigorous training and royal gossip, she falls under the Darkling’s seductive spell even though Mal is never far from her mind. But when a dark secret is revealed, she realizes that she might be even more important to Ravka than she ever could have imagined – and in more danger. This intense, action-packed, romantic high fantasy is the first in a trilogy, and a movie is already in development. Read it ASAP!  (Amy V. Pickett, Ridley High School) 
(Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award nominee, 2014)

Booktalk #2

Orphans from the Border Wars, Alina and her best friend Mal are all each other has.  During a battle, Mal is horribly injured, and Alina unleashes power she never knew she had to save him.  The Darkling, strongest magic-wielder in the land, promptly whisks her away to be  trained.  But in their world, nothing is ever what it seems.  Unsure who to trust, will Alina be the savior of her nation, or another casuality in its ongoing war?  (Isinglass Teen Award Committee, 2015)

Booktalk #3

Alina and her best friend Mal were drafted into the army. Their current mission is a dangerous crossing of the Fold - an area of land where there is no light. Where monsters rule. Violent creatures attack.  Few survive.


When Mal's life is at risk in the Fold, Alina saves him: She summons light, and blasts the monsters of the dark.


It's a power no-one, not even Alina, knew she had.


It's a power that could, just possibly, change the course of the war; transform Ravka, Alina's homeland.


Alina is whisked away from near-slavery in the army, from abject poverty, to the Royal court, where she will train to become a Grisha, one of the magical elite that rule Ravka, and protect it with their powers.


If Alina can control her power, use it at will, she will become the greatest of the Grisha. But if she fails, she will be destroyed.


Many court her, several plot against her.


And Mal has gone missing.


Shadow and Bone brings to life a world of saints and samovars; assassins and superstitions, dark magic, court intrigue, and romance.  (Kirsten Edwards, Teen Services Librarian
King County Library System, Washington Evergreen Book Award, 2015)

Booktalk #4

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, an area of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now Ravka’s fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. When her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.  
(South Carolina Junior Book Award nominee 2015,  Prepared by: Dana Whelchel, Liberty Middle School, )

SUBJECTS:    Magic -- Fiction.
                        Ability -- Fiction.
                        Monsters -- Fiction.
                        Orphans -- Fiction.
                        Fantasy fiction.

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