Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

10194157Published: June 5th 2012

 By: Henry Holt and Co. BYR

Series: The Grisha #1 

Genres: Young-Adult, Fantasy

Format: Kindle

 Source: Purchased

 My Rating: 4 Stars 4-stars

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.


Shadow and Bone took me a while to get into. After reading Six of Crows last year, I wanted to know more about the Grisha. It started out slowly, but I never once thought of giving up. The world of Ravka is sort of overwhelming. Names and places had me doing double takes. Seriously, I had to sound most of them out to try and get the correct pronunciation. Luckily, I have Google. 

Little orphan Alina. Sorry, that didn’t come out right. Alina is a character that I am having a hard time liking. It’s because the author made her into a self conscious heroine. And, as soon as you meet her, you know that she is going to be unique. In the beginning, I had no clue what her character would be like, seeing as she was a child. Then, she starts to grow into a powerful girl, but she still had this air about her that irked the hell out of me. It was hard for her to believe that she is this amazing person. The first half of the book is mostly getting to know Alina and everyone around her, as well as the world. 

I love that this story has Russian influences all throughout. It’s so darn refreshing as a setting, and I think that is what makes this fantasy a little different from others. The nuances are that Bardugo gives you these amazing action scenes and dark antagonists to work with. Yes, mostly all fantasy has dark beings, but this felt different than what I’ve read so far. The Darkling fascinated me to no end. Nothing screams caution like a powerful being. I’m honestly not sure what the aim is yet, as far as the romance goes. There’s too much story left to get presumptuous about it all, so I’ll save my rants for the next book. Still, I like Mal. I admire friendship in romantic relationships more than anything. 

All that goodness aside, it took me way too long to get into the Grisha world. The pacing started out slow, but picked up in certain areas, which kept me going. I like this book very much, and will definitely be reading book 2 soon. If you’ve read Six of Crows, giving the Grishaverse a shot wouldn’t be a bad idea. It gives you more incite into what the Grisha are capable of. Not my favorite fantasy, but it’s definitely one that I am looking forward to knowing more about.

40 thoughts on “Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

  1. I read the Grisha trilogy first and loved Six of Crows so much more. I enjoyed book one, but had the same issues that you did. But I was bored by book two and really wasn’t a fan of book three. I think that one is a series that got worse with each book. I have high hopes for the second book in the Six of Crows series though! 🙂


  2. You know I remember having issues with Alina too in the beginning. I thought she was too wrapped up in the luxurious world and I think that might be why I never picked up the sequels. I hear they get better and better though and I did love this world so maybe I should pick them up soon! Great review as always Lekeisha!


  3. Great review! Really liked your description of Alina, because it is true — she is a self-conscious character who has a long time learning to accept her power. I’ve read this series already and am interested in following your thoughts on the next two installments 🙂


  4. Heyyyyyy CHICA! I’ve been debating lately as to whether or not I want to give this series a try out. I’m not into the whole dark fantasy and stuff (you know how much I’m a sucker for my romances and all that!) Aliana (little orphan, bahaha!) I have to admit I don’t think I would have come cared too much for her basically because the way you described her is like a “woe is me” character? Am I right? Maybe I’m reading into that wrong. I’ve been wanting to try out this series though so…maybe, hopefully I’ll start on it one day? Teehee! LOVE YOU CHICA!


  5. People absolutely adore this series so I went ahead and bought this. But I wind up having to give it away. I’m gonna try it though sometime in the near future.


  6. I bought this one sometime last year and am intending to read it at some point this year. I really like the sound of this one and how the world is done. It might take a while to fully get into, and it might be hard with some character’s like Alina… but it seems like when it came to the end of the book it did leave you satisfied.


  7. I read this book and was kind of meh on it. It just didn’t work for me, but I am curious to read Six of Crows. Did you have a hard time reading Six of Crows not having read the entire Grisha Trilogy ?


  8. I had fun with this trilogy! I did think the first book was the strongest of the three books though, so I’m curious what you’ll think of the sequel. And I will be paying extra attention to your comments to the romance, because reading reviews that seems to be a point of disagreement for a lot of readers! 😀


  9. I loved the Darkling so much when I read this. I still rave about these books to people because of him. But I do love the world as well. I don’t remember having any problems with the characters but it’s been a long time! Glad you finally read this!


  10. Woo! I love this series so much so it pleases me that you decided to give it a try after liking Six of Crows. It was a little tough for me to get into at first especially since this was one of the very first fantasy books I read, but at the same time I was completely fascinated as well. The Russian influences were certainly one of the best parts of the book. I can’t wait to see what you think of the Darkling as the series progresses!
    Great review! 🙂


  11. Great review, Lekeisha! Sorry this one took you a while to get into but glad to hear that you enjoyed it! Good luck with the next one 🙂


  12. I am a firmly believer that people should read Grisha before SoC… just saying. Anyway you’ll get used to the world and then you’ll see that it’s amazing 😀


    I hope you like the rest as well or at least enjoy them to some extend. Nice review!


  13. Hmmm, your review was startling, but I liked the balance in it. This series has been on my wish list and I’ve had it recommended alot and raved about often. I think you gave me a much better idea of what to expect. 🙂 Thanks,Lekeisha!


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