Book Review: Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo

10194157Title & Author: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Genre: YA- Fantasy, Romance, Adventure, Russian Culture

Release Date: June 5th 2012

Series: The Grisha #1

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

Source: Bought

Description: 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.


I don’t know what took me so long to give this series a chance but I’ve finally gotten on the Grisha Train and I don’t ever want to get off! This book was such a good quick read I finished about 75% in two sittings and then had to pace myself throughout the week because of work. The last book I read with any sort of Russian culture was the Vampire Academy series where Rose goes off after Dimitri and I was happy to see some more fresh cultural settings. Although I had to Google a few words/clothing to get a good sense of what I was reading about I still immensely enjoyed this book.

Alina is such a well relatable character. She doesn’t really fit in anywhere and at times struggles with self esteem/self worth. Once given the chance to prove herself she jumps at the idea and of being accepted and needed. Although the weight of her power feels heavy at times and she still struggles with fitting in her slow and steady personal growth was wonderful to read. This book was such a rollercoaster. I rooted for the Darkling and wanted him and Alina to get to together SO HARD because obviously they pair well together (dark and light? Yes please.) but then all hell breaks loose and I’m all:

I won’t be the first to say I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING. I mean, yea he seemed sort of bad but I wasn’t thinking he was Mad-Scientists-Hell-Bent-on-Taking-Over-the-World bad. That’s an entirely different category. He’s still hot though, I’m just saying.

Anyway, the pace of the book was really good Bardugo was able to have this book span months and months without it feels long and boring by skipping over useless details a lot of authors like to elaborate on for no reason (which makes books 10000x longer in my opinion) so I was able to finish this book fairly quickly. The world building was nice but I felt like a lot of smaller things could have been elaborated on more but this is only the first book in the series so I’m sure there will be time all the Grisha secrets to be revealed.

Things I enjoyed

  • I found myself really drawn to the different types of magic users and how each user could then be branched out into certain categories.
  • The use of magic that wasn’t really “High Fantasy” but still gave the world a unique twist.
  • The constant juxtaposition of Alina and the Darkling in things like personality, clothing, magic was so wonderfully done.
  • Mal’s character growth.
  • Alina’s character growth.
  • There was no clear cut good/evil throughout the majority of this book and I really enjoy stories were the lines are blurred.
  • The clothing style! (Russian clothing is so gorgeous)

Things I disliked

  • The last chapter or so everything sort of climaxed and then fizzled out very quickly.
  • Alina seemed to just realize she has all this power and then *poof* she is stronger than the Darkling and is able to break their bond. (It took literally a few sentences.)
  • The Darkling being a huge evil dick and so I can’t ship him and Alina anymore. (Or can I? Mahahah)

That’s about the only three issues I had with this book.

Paper recommendation tag

Yes! I’ll admit it didn’t WOW my socks off but it was still a really, really good read. It’s sort of hard to find an amazing book after reading Queen of Shadows, I think all other books I read this year will pale in comparison. Sorry Bardugo don’t take it personal. I will however, definitely be investing in the next two books and Six of Crows. Now leave me alone so I can hunt the internet for amazing fanart and fanfiction of Alina and the Darkling. I have no shame.

Check out some AMAZING fanart by Irene Koh on her Tumblr

My Klimt is showing!Broke out the watercolors and metallic paint and had a bit of fun. If you’re feeling stiff, digital artist friends, try working traditionally! I felt like I loosened up quite a bit. The lettering just happened first try, too, which never happens! You and me, Wiener Werkstätte, we were meant to be…! (I’m sorry the scan is so dreadful!) Alina and the Darkling of the Grisha trilogy belong to the very charming Leigh Bardugo.
By Irene Koh
OH, DARKLING. You brooding, scary thing you. Someone posted photos of Ezra Miller last night and I can’t get the ponytail out of my head. There’s also a few scenes where he runs his hand through his hair or does this half-smile and I just. Buh. Scrumptious human imagery.Q: How many times have I drawn That One Scene (Yes You Know What I’m Talking About, That Scene)? A: Too many times. But you can’t see it yet, not yet…
By Irene Koh

Goodreads | Amazon | Leigh Bardugo’s Website


16 thoughts on “Book Review: Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo

  1. It only gets better (and better and better)! I can’t wait until you read Siege and Storm! It’s my personal favorite of the trilogy and also has a certain charter who is yes-yes-yes and, golly, I really hope you love him as much as I did. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG I can’t wait. I just ordered a bunch of books like a few seconds ago off BookOutlet (Siege and Storm was sold out though) and I got the third book as well as a few I’ve been waiting to restock. I’ll probably pick up the second book this weekend and devour it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sort of kicking myself for waiting so long since a lot of the hype is over with and you should totally read this that way we can talk about it. If you like fantasy books at all you’ll really enjoy this.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am momentarily distracted by Irene Koh’s beautiful art work OMG *stares forever*

    I felt this book had a promising beginning and middle part, but it really felt anticlimactic at the end. Plus, why is Alina and Mal so boring together? Team Darkling!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know I stalked all her fan art for ages before I posted this review. Yes Team Darkling! Totally agree about Mal and Alina. I mean, Mal was a total jerk until the very end and it was just so unromantic. Plus why does it matter she almost gave herself to the Darkling? It’s her body. Mal freaks out like her self worth is tied to her innocence.


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