Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (Book Review)

May 2, 2013 Book Review, Young Adult 18 ★★★★★

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (Book Review)Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #1
Also in this series: Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on June 5, 2012
Genres: High Fantasy, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance
Pages: 356
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought from Amazon
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5 Stars
The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

PEOPLE. I have no idea why I took so long to read Shadow and Bone. Maybe it’s because I’m not a huge fan of fantasy, but I AM NOW! This book was chock full of awesomeness and excitement and mystery. I just can’t contain my love for this book, and for Leigh Bardugo, who I am now a fan of for life. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. This WORLD. Oh wow. My absolute favorite thing about Shadow and Bone is the world Leigh created for us. I love all of it, from its setting in futuristic Russia, to the elaborate keftas, to the mysterious Shadow Fold (a dark and barren wasteland filled with volcra, which I swear are some kind of dragon on steroids), and all the awesome talents of the Grisha. This world is complicated and complex with its own language. It’s amazing.

2. Leigh’s writing is out of this world. OH man. Have you seen that episode of Friends with Ross’s wedding in London, and Joey is having a hard time figuring out how to read his map, so he puts it on the ground and stands on it, putting himself INTO the map so it made more sense? That’s what Leigh did to me! I was IN the book, and I could picture and see everything. It all made so much sense, and I absolutely loved everything. Had the writing not been so amazing, this book would have flopped.

3. Alina. Oh, Alina. Talk about an amazingly bad-a heroine. I love her! She’s just a run of the mill girl one day, and then all of a sudden she’s Ravka’s everything. She gets swept up into the magic and excitement of the lavish castle, and gets to wear fancy clothes, dine on yummy foods, and be the topic of every conversation. But through it all, she stays humble, really just wanting to become a part of the wall or the floor rather than shine. She’s timid and scared and confused, and she feels inadequate. But as the story progresses, she grows into this brave, confident young woman who will sacrifice and cause problems and fight for herself.

4. Oh, the Darkling. MAN. I’d heard stories about him floating around the blogosphere, and now finally understand what everyone has been talking about! He’s dark and sexy and charming and dangerous, and people are just drawn to him for some mysterious reason. Reading about him was rather intoxicating. I was drawn to him too! But like I said, he’s dangerous… and I swear, I always love the dangerous character!

5. MAL. Can I have Mal for myself? Mal is Alina’s childhood friend, who she has never really been able to live without. But when she is taken to the castle, and he is made a tracker for the kingdom, they lose each other. What a beautiful friendship they have. He’s brave and protective and SO full of secrets and depth. 

6. The romance is perfection. There’s not too much, not too little, nothing really insta-love… it all makes sense for the circumstances. I loved it. And that’s all I will say, because it’s too good to even come close to spoiling.

7. I feel like everything happens! Shadow and Bone is chock full of adventure, mystery, action, emotion, romance, opulence, relationships, and questions. The ending is just… urg.se.rgusheg;sghus.ergisjherg!

Clearly, I loved Shadow and Bone. I have nothing bad to say about it, and can’t stop thinking about it at ALL. I read this one really fast, and when I was not reading I was thinking about it. If you love fantastic world-building, strong characters, mystery, intrigue, romance of extreme proportions, and beautiful writing, you will love Shadow and Bone.

Watch the book trailer for Shadow and Bone! Pretty amazing!

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18 Responses to “Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (Book Review)”

  1. anaherareads

    Jana, you have me convinced. This book sounds totally up my alley and I’m definitely going to keep my eyes out for it! :)

  2. A Backwards Story

    I’m so glad you gave it a chance and loved it! I am a fantasy fan, but I didn’t want to read it because the synopsis read paranormal and monster-y. I was stunned by how good it was when I read it. Leigh Bardugo is truly an amazing writer!

  3. Natalie Bell

    Yay! I’m glad you enjoyed this one. I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve heard good things about this series. Great review!

  4. Alexa Y.

    It makes me so darn happy that you enjoyed Shadow & Bone! While it’s not my favorite fantasy ever (mostly because I’m a die hard fantasy girl), I did think it was unique and super entertaining. Plus, I love Mal! And the Darkling! Can’t wait for Siege & Storm!

  5. Annie

    I’ve heard so many great things about this book and I can’t believe I haven’t read this yet! The synopsis kind of confuses me but since you liked it, I don’t think I could go wrong! I’ve been itching for a good fantasy!

  6. Kim (YA Asylum)

    I don’t know why I haven’t read this one yet. I’ve heard a lot about it and keep meaning to read it — really, I do — but now I know I really will! Perfect romance sounds so appealing and I like what I hear about this Mal character. Plus a kick-a leading lady? Awesome. I’ll have to read it before the sequel comes out. Great review!

  7. Bookworm1858

    I loved Mal! At first I wasn’t super enthusiastic about this book but the more I thought about it, the more I loved it. There were so many good moments and a lot to think about. Can’t wait for book 2!

  8. Daisy

    YES! I’m so happy you loved it!! I LOVED the worldbuilding and Alina as well! And you’re right, it’s so easy to get lost in this world! I loved every minute of it! And the Darkling is one of my favourite ‘bad guys’ ever :) Also: you cannot have Mal to yourself, we’ll have to agree to share him ;) Let me know if you’re picking Siege and Storm up soon, we can read it together!

  9. Brittany S.

    YAYYY I’m so glad you loved this one!!! Leigh Bardugo truly, truly writes some amazing books! I was NOT big on fantasy at all until I read Shadow and Bone and I found that if I read the RIGHT fantasy, it’s pretty amazing! So glad you enjoyed it so much!
    Also, SORRY for the lack of comments recently! I just realized when I switched to Bloglovin, somehow your blog got lost in all my subscriptions and I just realized that it wasn’t on my list!!! Ack!! So more comments to come soon :)

  10. Brittany S.

    YAYYY I’m so glad you loved this one!!! Leigh Bardugo truly, truly writes some amazing books! I was NOT big on fantasy at all until I read Shadow and Bone and I found that if I read the RIGHT fantasy, it’s pretty amazing! So glad you enjoyed it so much!
    Also, SORRY for the lack of comments recently! I just realized when I switched to Bloglovin, somehow your blog got lost in all my subscriptions and I just realized that it wasn’t on my list!!! Ack!! So more comments to come soon :)

    • Jana

      Hi Shan! I really feel like the romance is a tiny, TINY part of the story across the entire series. Yes, it’s there, but there is SO much else going on, that I don’t think you’ll be bothered by it. The focus is on something entirely unrelated. I definitely thing you should give it a shot if you like fantasy. If you’re worried about investing anything into it, maybe check it out from the library! Then you have nothing to lose if you decide it’s not for you. :) Thanks for visiting!

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