Book Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo


Goodreads blurb
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.

First line: 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 the rooms, hiding in cupboards to eavesdrop, sneaking into the kitchen to steal the last of the summer peaches.”

Title: Shadow and Bone
Series: The Grisha, book 1
Author: Leigh Bardugo
My edition: A hardcover published by Henry Holt & Company in 2012 with 358 pages.
Age: Young Adult (Maybe 15+, mostly because of graphic details surrounding killing people)
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult and Paranormal

I originally started reading Six of Crows by the same author, but I couldn’t understand anything, so a lot of people on IG said that it was better to read the Grisha trilgy first, and then move on to Six of Crows, so that’s what I did. I was also reading this book with Itara over at mymidnightfantasies!

The plot is mainly about Alina, this normal peasant girl who’s grown up with her friend Mal as an orphan. They both join the First Army, Mal as a tracker and Alina as a cartographer. When they are going into the Fold (this really scary place that is completely dark and filled with monsters) with the Grisha (people with powers) they are attacked and Alina suddenly shows everyone that she’s not just a peasant girl, but a Grisha herself. She’s whisked away by the Darkling, the most powerful Grisha, and is trained so that she can help end the war and bring peace to Ravka.

I loved the plot, seriously loved it to bits. It’s simple but seriously effective. Simple in the way where you have the well-used plot where the main character is more than he/she seems like, and then she/he has to leave his/her world behind to train and become the hero. In this plot, everything isn’t what it seems, and all though I kept on having my doubts about EVERYTHING that happened, I was still surprised when the plot-twist came. It was expected, but not expected (kind of).

The plot is incredibly well composed, we are introduced to the world slowly and it doesn’t feel like it’s totally overwhelming (which worlds often can be). I also loved everything about the world Alina leaves, and the one she enters. It’s just an incredibly exciting book (I’ve already ordered the second book) and I seriously can’t wait to continue this journey!

The writing is good, good in a way where it’s simple and descriptive enough for me (as a Norwegian, which means English isn’t my first language). It is written from Alina’s perspective, and sometimes I wished I could have the perspective of the Darkling. Since the Darkling becomes a really big part of the story, I sometimes wanted to be in his head as well. I can’t say that there was anything I noticed that was “special” about the writing, it was just a very easy read!

Alina is probably one of the least understandable main characters I’ve read,  but at the same time I loved her. She takes decisions too quickly without thinking, which made me mad sometimes. (If you want to read the spoiler, simply mark the text I have changed color on to read it)* When she decides to NOT get a black Kefta, which is what the Darkling has and is the most powerful color, I was mad. She chooses blue because she feels like everyone else wont look at her and stuff, and it felt just completely stupid to me. Take the damn black Kefta and get on with your life. *I also did not like Mal as much as the Darkling (I have a thing for bad boys), so it didn’t feel right when she was with Mal. All though this is completely because I loved the Darkling and I didn’t like Mal as much. I liked Alina despite everything though, she’s humble and lovable and I would love to her friend.

the Darkling was my big hero in this book. Don’t get me wrong, but I seriously had a crush on him through this entire book, and I want to read the next book because I want more of the Darkling. I loved the Darkling. He’s incredibly mysterious, powerful and just ah. I loved him.

Mal was the character I felt the least for. Mostly because he’s the obvious choice. Whenever I read a book that has a love-triangle (which this book has a very tiny little small portion of), I always hate the obvious choice because the obvious choice is always so plain and boring. Mal was plain and boring to me, and I didn’t feel anything for him.

I really liked the ending, but it didn’t have a huge cliff hanger like I hoped it would. Nevertheless I did order the second book in the series and I can’t wait to read it.

So the book is pretty much awesome, you have a really great world with amazing characters (The Darkling <3) and to top all of that it’s a pretty easy read. I went through the book in a couple of days, but I think I could have done it in one (if I’d had the time).

04/12 – Marked as to-read
10/13 – Marked as currently reading
10/13 Page – 78 / 21% 
“hah the darkling’s kind of sexy x)”
10/15 – Page 171 / 47% “ahh, I’m seriously having a crush on the Darkling”
10/16 – Page 186 / 51% “<\3”
10/16 – Page 196 / 54%
10/16 – Page 250 / 69% “noo”
10/16 – Marked as read

If you like dark paranormal you should totally read it!


“The problem with wanting, is that it makes us weak”
– The Darkling, Shadow and Bone



10 comments on “Book Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

  1. […] Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo Read: October 13-October 16 I buddy-read it with a bookstagram friend, and I couldn’t put it down. It’s amazing! And one of my favorites this year. We follow Alina into the world of the Grisha, and it’s just so dark and beautiful! I’m hoping to get to the second book before this year’s over. Read the review here. […]


  2. Thanks for reading this with me! It was so much fun. I agree with you, I wish there was more from the Darkling and I also have a thing for bad boys. Let me know when you want to read the second book from the series, we could do a read along again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was so much fun! I rarely read with others because I’m scared I’ll either jump ahead of them or be waaay behind, but I feel like we had a steady pace together❤️ Absolutely! I’m waiting for it in the mail, hoping to get to it in 2016😅


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