Review: Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo

shadow and bone
Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha Trilogy #1
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Source/Format: Library / Hardcover, 356 pages
Opening Sentence: “The servants called them malenchki, little ghosts, because they were the smallest and the youngest, and because they haunted the Duke’s house like giggling phantoms, darting in and out of rooms, hiding in cupboards to eavesdrop, sneaking into the kitchen to steal the last of the summer peaches.”
Author Website | Goodreads | Amazon

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.

Okay, guys. I’ve been hearing so many wonderful things about Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I got an ARC of Siege and Storm and figured I should probably pull the trigger and start the series. So here I am, freshly read and not disappointed in the slightest.

Shadow and Bone is one of those books that has a completely different world than ours and a bunch of words and names that I’m still not really sure I’m pronouncing correctly. Books like this can be a bit intimidating at first, but if there is ever a book that you keep reading despite, MAKE IT THIS ONE. I was hooked right from the beginning and by page fifty I was invested and totally anxious to read/learn more of the story. I suppose if you strip it down to the basics the story isn’t too different from a lot of the things I’ve read, but it’s the details that make it interesting and unique. The setting is different, the characters are wonderful, and there’s just something about the whole world… I can’t put my finger on it, but I love it. (Even if the story jerked me around a bit. It’ll do the same for you. Don’t be too positive about anything while reading this book.)

The characters are just as interesting and lovable as the world. The main character, Alina, is flawed, but I think she could do anything and I would still love her. The same goes for Mal, her best friend. They are quite the characters and totally fantastic in their different ways. *POTENTIAL SPOILER AHEAD* Mal happens to be one part of an almost love triangle. I say almost because… well, I feel like I might have spoiled a bit already, so I won’t go on. But if you’ve read it you know… *POTENTIAL SPOILER OVER* But yeah, Mal is pretty swoony. There also happens to be The Darkling, who is equal parts dreamy and scary. He’s one of those people you can’t help but love even though you know he’s bad news.

Like most books I read, I fell in love with the secondary characters in Shadow and Bone. I need to stop doing this, guys. Honestly. I want more of the smaller characters because they’re just so amazing. I got a lot of my feels from the “less important” characters. The story wouldn’t be the same without them. Maybe we can have some short stories on the side or something? Seriously.

So you’re probably wondering why, if I loved Shadow and Bone so much, did I only give it four out of five stars? Well, readers, it’s nothing personal. While I did/do love it (it’s so good, you should read it!) I also found that I wasn’t rushing through it the way I do in my five star-ers. I was able to NOT read it and found it was a bit forgettable when I wasn’t reading. That is basically the only reason it’s not five stars. Also the end didn’t leave me as excited for the next book as I was hoping. I can already tell that I might have to deal with the dreaded Second Book Slump. Alas.

Does that mean I’m not going to read the next book? HECK NO! I’m actually going to start it as soon as I get a copy from the library. I’m excited to see how the story develops and especially what is going on with Alina. Honestly, guys, even if you’re not into Fantasy give this one a try. It’s absolutely worth it. You might find a new favorite in Shadow and Bone.

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

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8 thoughts on “Review: Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo

  1. I just read this a few days and I also thought it was really good! It’s always nice when the secondary characters are properly interesting and developed, isn’t it? Genya was an amazing supporting character and friend for Alina. I hope we get more of her in book 2!

  2. I picked this one up months ago on sale, but I haven’t read it. Everyone keeps telling me I should, though. I like fantasy, but high fantasy not so much. I really need to devote some time to it, though. I think I might feel like you. Although I probably will love it, I think it would be easy for me to put down. But I could be so wrong!

  3. Oh my gosh, I loved this book! AND THE SEQUEL IS EVEN BETTER!!
    There’s a new character introduced and he’s freaking awesome! You’ve probably heard of him already haha- Sturmhond. And I do agree that the secondary characters really supported the novel- they were all so interesting!

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