‘Shadow and Bone’ filled to brim with potential

When opening a book, the first few pages can tell you a lot about the content you are about to be reading. For instance, if there’s a map of a complex fantasy world, you know it is going to be complicated, at times confusing, and very well thought out.
So the beginning of “Shadow and Bone” by Leigh Bardugo promises something of that nature, and it definitely delivers. However daunting the plot may be, the reader is hooked from about two pages in.
Alina Starkov has lived her whole life feeling perfectly ordinary, to the point of being boring. She is an orphan, a poor mapmaker in the First Army, and is barely noticeable to her best friend Mal.
So when, while crossing The Fold, a dark expanse of land overrun by monsters, the First Army is attacked, and Alina mysteriously produces a bolt of light powerful enough to send the beasts away, everyone is shocked.
She can’t be Grisha, the highest class in society, whose powers create, heal, and enhance the world. Or can she? The Darkling, the most powerful Grisha in the land, thinks she is.
And with that, Alina is whisked off to the Little Palace, the place where Grisha train, and a life of luxury, away from Mal, away from everything she’s ever known.
But just as Alina begins to earn her place as The Darkling’s favorite, as the one who will supposedly destroy The Fold, she discovers that The Darkling’s plans may not be innocent as she once assumed.
The rest evolves into a huge plot twist that I can honestly say I did not see coming. If you are a fan of “The Hunger Games,” you will probably find a lot of underlying similarities, but “Shadow and Bone” Is definitely unique in its many twists and turns.
The book will join two sequels to complete the “Grisha” trilogy, which, as of now, I give an A-.