Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo | Book Review

Book cover of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha Trilogy #1)
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publication Date: 5 June, 2012
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But 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.

The first time I'd entered the Fold, I'd feared the darkness and my own death. Now, darkness was nothing to me, and I knew that soon death would seem like a gift. I'd always known I would have to return to the Unsea, but as I looked back, I realized that some part of me had anticipated it.
-Alina, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Shadow and Bone is such an entertaining read, full of adventure and a little bit of mystery. I loved Leigh Bardugo's writing. The book isn't chock full of beautiful passages--although the writing is still wonderful--but when they appear, they are perfect. I especially enjoyed the preface and epilogue, where the words read as if being told an old tale by a storyteller.

Alina isn't your everyday heroine; she has her faults, and she makes the wrong choices. But no matter what she is always trying to do the right thing, and just wants the best for herself and those she cares about. I really like the love story that comes from this--for once, there is a love triangle that makes sense! People aren't truly as they present themselves to be, and the ones who should be together (according to me), are the ones who come together. (No spoilers there; you'll be surprised!)

One thing I would have liked to see in the story was more world building; I wanted more detail about the Grisha, the people living in the land, and exactly how the Darkling came to power. These are things that I expect will be covered in the next books though, so I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt. There are still things that I wish were explained, though: I wanted more detail about the training Alina receives, and the dreams she has. I think that would have gone a long way towards making her abilities more believable.

In the end, this is definitely a story you'll remember. It's an old story made new by new terrain, interesting relationships (Alina and Mal's friendship is pretty awesome), and magic. :)

Temp. Guide
Read this if:
...you like adventures, love stories, and magic.

Content Warning
*This section may contain some spoilers about content!*
Highlight between the brackets to reveal the text.
{Some violence (fighting, murder), and a few make-out scenes.}

This was his soul made flesh, the truth of him laid bare in the blazing sun, shorn of mystery and shadow. This was the truth behind the handsome face and the miraculous powers, the truth that was the dead and empty space between the stars, a wasteland peopled by frightened monsters.
-Alina, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

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Leigh Bardugo
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  1. I've heard nothing but good about this book! A love triangle that works?!?!? Is there such a thing. I can't wait to read this one.

  2. "I especially enjoyed the preface and epilogue, where the words read as if being told an old tale by a storyteller."

    YES, YES, YES. Not many reviews pointed that out like you did. I loved those awesome opening and finishing touches to the story that made it feel beautiful, old, legendary. A story passed by many hands. SO GLAD YOU LIKED IT :D

  3. I've been debating on reading this, but now I think I will. Thanks for the review.

  4. Great review! I'm really looking forward to reading this one.

  5. I've been hearing such good things about this book. The fact that it's set in Russia (or is the setting just based on Russia?) is particularly intriguing.

  6. So did you read it after the event? Cause that was fast! It must be good. I need to get to it.

  7. This is waiting for me on my Kindle! I'm excited because I've heard good things and I saw this review on GR. :)



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