Alright, time to catch up on some reviews.Overall rating: 4.5/5 starsWhere to begin? Describing this book is the equivalent to describing an awesome roller coaster. "Dude, I was excited, then anxious, then BAM! my hair is flying and I am SCREAMING my head off!"Shadow and Bone is a book that is hard to fit into any box. Let's look at the dazzling highlights of the book:It is mild enough to be safe with the YA pack, but the undertones of lust and the deliverance of some saucy tempting scenes will cause you to lose sleep. You're not going to want to put it down. And don't depend on just one hot lead to take your breath away.The protagonist struggles with the same complex issues of self image to help the typical reader identify with the story, but Bardugo performs her magic and brings in this wonderful element: Outer beauty depends on inner beauty. Yes, girls, when you feel confident of yourself, of your life, and of your own identity, you are going to look fabulous. I am not talking about the "love yourself, and you too can look like Scarlett Johansson!" magic (however, if you ever discover this, please contact me ASAP). Alina does not become the MOST BEAUTIFUL Grisha ever, but when she lets go of her anger, self doubt and self denial, she embraces an outer glamor that is her own. This dish of knowledge is force fed to the youth, but you never realize how important self worth plays in attraction. I never understood that concept until I saw it happen for me personally. I am no raving beauty. I'm not fishing for compliments, facts are facts. I come from a long line of highly unattractive people. However, I have plenty of friends and attention because I respect who I am. A pretty face only lasts so long, but a positive self identity stays for life.This is the most amazing non-love triangle love triangle that I have ever read. Confused? It is okay. Blossoming Alina finds herself in a sticky romance situation. Without giving anything away, Alina begins to learn the value of true love. She can identity lust and love. Respecting a person is a major ingredient required to love someone, and have their love returned. Alina is guilty of confusing the two, but she takes away a powerful lesson. And I can't say I blame her in the least for her own folly. I was right there with her. Then we get.......one of the BEST twists in the Land of YA Literature. Dedicated reading will soon develop your reading instincts. "My story senses are tingling". You call it 100 pages before the DUN DUN DUNNNNN major twist. You are screaming your revelation at the book. "You're the princess, you dummy!" If you have read books for nearly your entire life, you get the gist.SO imagine my surprise when I WAS BLOWN OUT OF THE WATER. And finally, mercy is stronger than brutality. You read the book? Are you near the end? Yeah, you know what I am speaking of. I cried. I was angry. I wanted to smash the screen of my Kindle. And then I was rewarded with one of the best and most touching lessons I have ever read in a book: Love and kindness will overcome the darkest of times.Why is this not 5 stars?The ending. What the heck was THAT? And the court life was a tad bit tedious (Though I love me some Genya - talk about an awesome character).I STRONGLY urge everyone to grab this beauty. The downside is the waiting period for the sequel.