Book Review | Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

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Shadow and Bone

Author: Leigh Bardugo // Published: June 5, 2012


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’ve been waiting for you a long time, Alina” He said. “You and I are going to change the world.”


One of my goals this year is to read the Grisha books so that includes this series and Six of Crows. I’m doing pretty well on my challenge so far. I’m writing this a bit late since I’ve already finished Siege and Storm but this review needs to be written.

I know how hyped this series is. It’s one of the reasons why it took me so long to get around to reading it. I’ll admit this was a pleasant surprise. While it didn’t blow me away it was still a pretty fun read. I enjoyed the worldbuilding. Bardugo always creates really detailed and complex stories and this was no exception. I don’t know how much of it I retained but I loved that things were fleshed out. There was also the magic system. This confused me a bit because for the life of me I couldn’t remember the robe colors and what they stood for sometimes. Totally forgot to write it down too but that aside, it was nice to see how unique the Grisha world was.


“The Darkling slumped back in his chair. “Fine,” he said with a weary shrug. “Make me your villain.”

The characters were interesting but I didn’t really feel much for them if I’m being honest. Alina was flat for some time and I only got around to liking her somewhere towards the end. Even then I didn’t like her that much. Mal was also somewhat bland. I didn’t love him the way I though I would and it was a tad bit disappointing to not really like these two. Alina became much more powerful later and started to stand her ground. The Darkling are where things got interesting. Everyone has been yelling about him. I hardly know anyone who isn’t in love with him. I already knew who he was so it wasn’t entirely a surprise. Some details I didn’t know but I spent a portion of the book willing Alina to notice what was really going on.

The last half of the book was exciting and it definitely had me excited to start the next book. Overall, I really enjoyed this.



About the Author

Image result for leigh bardugo


Leigh Bardugo is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of fantasy novels and the creator of the Grishaverse (coming soon to Netflix) which spans the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, The Language of Thorns, and King of Scars—with more to come. Her short stories can be found in multiple anthologies, including the Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy. Her other works include Wonder Woman: Warbringer and Ninth House (Goodreads Choice Winner for Best Fantasy 2019) which is being developed for television by Amazon Studios.






Have you read the Grisha series?

10 thoughts on “Book Review | Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

  1. Honestly, reading the SoC series made me not care at all for Leigh Bardugo. I feel like her writing style can sometimes be unengaging, kind of like what you describe here. I hope you’ll like SoC when you get to it though ! 😊


  2. Great review! I read this trilogy after I read the Six of Crows duology and I think I’m glad I did it that way round because I adored Six of Crows and didn’t like this trilogy as much (although each book is better than the last!) so I might not have read Six of Crows if I’d read this book first. I think it does take a while for Alina to find her feet, but I’d agree that quite a lot of the characters in this first trilogy are fairly bland.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review! It’s been a while since I read this series but I remember feeling similarly, that the plot and world were intriguing but the characters made it all fall short. I don’t think I genuinely *loved* any characters in this entire trilogy other than Nikolai, but he makes up for a lot of it once he joins the cast! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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