Prior to reading this book I had resigned myself to never having the opportunity to read YA Fantasy of the likes of Trudi Canavan’s The Black Magician Trilogy. A lot of the Fantasy that’s marketed as YA these days tends towards paranormal romance, and I had come to terms with getting my high fantasy kicks elsewhere. Shadow and Bone opened up a whole new world for me and proved that YA Fantasy does exist, and it’s great! This book combines masterful world building with likeable characters and a plot rich in intrigue and betrayal.I have a hate-love relationship with Alina – I hated her in the beginning for her foolhardy naivety (seriously, the childhood she led made me expect a harder, meaner character), but then loved her by the end (she develops into a thoughtful caring person with a lot of inner strength). Alina’s character brings out the YA aspect of the novel: her development is a driving element in the plot and ultimately brings about the kick-ass conclusion of the story.One of the things I find YA misses most is quality world development, but the intriguing world of Ravka suffers no such problems. The world, its magic system and the chilling Shadow Fold are all hooks that drag you into the story, and before you know it, you are completely immersed in it. The writing is mesmerising, vividly bringing this exotic world to life as you read. Leigh Bardugo certainly knows how to engage her readers through her writing!Shadow and Bone is easily described: a brilliantly crafted YA fantasy. I strongly urge readers to give this book a chance, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!You can read more of my reviews at Speculating on SpecFic.