Book Review: Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Series: The Grisha Trilogy

Pages: 356

Release Date: June 5, 2012

Rating: 5/5

Summary from GoodReads:

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 fulfill 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?

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.


Keftas, Unseas and Darklings?


   Alina: I think it’s important to make sure you understand her childhood background before you can fully understand why she is insecure and impressionable. I like that Alina is unremarkable at the beginning of the novel—not once has someone told her that she has great things ahead. Until she demonstrates her power and ends up in a palace, that is. She’s not one of the strongest female protagonists, but the reader gets to see her go from cowering and wistful to standing up for herself and making her own choices. LOVE IT!

   Mal: Swoon-worthy, to say the least. He is the “sun” of the story; he seems to light up everything around him. Honest, caring, and imperfectly perfect. And guess what…we get to see transformation in him too!

   The Darkling: Um, hello SMOKING HOT bad boy. If Mal is swoon-worthy, then the Darkling makes you want to give in to all of your temptations. He’s the latest epitome of “tall, dark and handsome.” Bardugo keeps him shrouded in mystery the entire time and he is such a complex character, I find myself constantly wanting to know more about him. (Siege and Storm can’t come soon enough)

   Genya: She is the model girl best friend and confidante. She has Alina’s back many times and really drives home the idea that beauty isn’t everything. She is wickedly cunning and has mastered her Grisha ability.

The World—

As one completely in love with Russian culture, I thought the world was very intriguing. A kingdom with an ignorant king, an elite crew of magic users and an established chasm between nobility and peasantry? Yes please! Not to mention a deadly magical Shadow Fold of impenetrable darkness that hides creepy vulture-like things that attack anyone who attempts passage through their territory. This fantastical world removes me completely from my suburban town.

The Themes—

   Controlling vs. freely given love

   Power, the struggle for it, and how to handle it

   Taking life vs. appreciating life

   Misplaced idealism

Final Thoughts—

I read this book in about a day. I only put it down to take care of life’s absolute necessities. Bardugo’s beautiful plot and complex characters will have you pining for Siege and Storm, which releases June 4th in the U.S.

Memorable Quotes—

“What is infinite? The universe and the greed of men.”

“…then I’d realize that you weren’t there anymore, and every time, every single time, it was like having the wind knocked out of me.”

“I wasn’t nervous or frightened. I wasn’t anything anymore.”

You can buy this book on Amazon or get more info at Goodreads! Thanks for reading!


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