Book review

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo


Format: eBook (Kindle)

Length: 358 pages

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Publisher: Henry and Holt Company

Date of Publication: 5th June, 2012

Rating: 5/5 stars

Shadow and Bone is the first book in the Grishaverse Trilogy. I’ve been wanting to read the series ever since I read Six of Crows. Hearing that the book is going to be adapted into an 8-episode series by Netflix meant that I absolutely had to read the books before that.

The Blurb

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 Book

The book begins with Alina, an orphan from Ravka describing her days in the First Army and reminiscing about her past spent with her best friend Mal. The Grishaverse universe with its vast open plains and severe tundra climates as well as the character names are influenced by Russia. Leigh admits that the Darkness/Darkling is a metaphor for the evil that lurks within all of us.

I had already seen so many memes on Alina, Mal and the Darkling that I had formed an opinion about each of them. However, the magic of Bardugo meant that all those opinions were shattered and I was left reeling with the amount of character development that was done for each character, no matter how small. The descriptions of Botkin and the other Grishas in the Small Palace or the descriptions of the grandeur of the King’s palace or the beauty of Morozova’s herd left me salivating for more.

Although the premise of a sickly orphan girl discovering a power within herself that she didn’t know she had, her best friend whom she is secretly in love with ignoring her for prettier women, a dark prince noticing the heroine and her blooming under his care seems to be the way that every other YA story goes, there was just something about the way that the story was woven together and the characters that were created made the story very gripping. I could not stop reading the book and I can’t wait to see what the next book in the series will reveal.

The Author

Leigh Bardugo is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of fantasy novels and the creator of the Grishaverse. With over two million copies sold, her Grishaverse spans the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, and The Language of Thorns—with more to come.

Her short stories can be found in multiple anthologies, including The Best of and the Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy. Her other works include Wonder Woman: Warbringer and the forthcoming Ninth House. Leigh was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Southern California, graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and even makeup and special effects. These days, she lives and writes in Los Angeles, where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.

TL;DR: A fast paced book that is sure to make you want to try and complete the entire series in a single sitting

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8 thoughts on “Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo”

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