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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 255

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In Shadow and Bone, Alina Starkov discovers that she possesses a magical power which enables her to summon light. She is quickly manipulated by the leader of the Grishas (those who possess magical abilities like Alina does). He desires to use her power for his sinister plan to dominate the world. When Alina learns of this plan, she escapes the leader, known as the Darkling. Once she escapes, Alina and her friend, Mal, set out on a journey to find a stag in the far north of the land; the magical stag has the ability to increase her powers if she kills it and makes a necklace from its antlers. Alina, however, decides not to kill the stag.

This moment in the story is a pivotal moment wherein Alina makes an active choice to not become power-hungry and greedy like the Darkling. The Darkling represents those who possess power in the world and choose to use that power at the expense of others. Alina realizes that she cannot perpetuate that role and chooses instead to respect her fellow living beings. The story is certainly one of good versus evil and emphasizes the power to choose and decide one's own fate. When Alina is held captive once again by the Darkling and placed under his total control, her own willpower and love for Mal allows her to break free from his hold over her and save her friend. She, and only she, decides her fate. Alina chooses to be a force of good in the world.