Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

July 18, 2013 Book Review, Young Adult 49 ★★★★★

Shadow and BoneShadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #1
Published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers on June 5th 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Won
Buy the Book
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.

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Recommended highly by other bloggers and readers, I just knew I had to give Shadow and Bone a shot, even if the premise isn’t something I normally read. Pretty sure my whole realm of thinking as I was reading this book was, ‘why did I wait so long?!’ It absolutely lived up to the hype!

I love fantasy novels but tend to avoid them as well because often times I find the world building a little over my head. Not the case at all here. I was easily able to follow along with Alina, our main character, as she discovers a hidden talent, a skill bestowed upon the Grisha. But her talent is unique, one that makes her extremely valuable in the war with hopes she can help bring about peace. Taken away from her life as a mapmaker and away from her best friend, Mal, Alina’s world is turned upside down as she is taught this new life and how to control her newfound power. The Darkling, the powerful leader of the Grisha, pays our Alina lot of special attention, but there is more there than first meets the eye.

The details were so beautiful and rich and I loved the characters and story. Alina was so likable as we watch her transform in some ways but remain the same girl in others. The love triangle is one that has me torn. When we first meet Mal, it’s obvious she is totally smitten as they have a strong ‘through thick or thin’ connection.

“It’s always just you and me, Alina.”

But then Alina is whisked away from him to the Little Palace for her safety and to train. And then there’s the Darkling! He is super mysterious and often comes and goes quite suddenly, but he is oh so interesting. I immediately fell for him as well.

“The problem with wanting,” he whispered, his mouth trailing along my jaw until it hovered over my lips, “is that it makes us weak.” And then, at last, when I thought I couldn’t bear it any longer, he brought his mouth down on mine.

Welp, what a fine little triangle we find ourselves in. And just when I start leaning in one direction, secrets are revealed to make me question everything! Alina becomes this incredibly self-sacrificing person. She blossoms before our very eyes through the pages and I loved the journey she took to get there. So here I sit, waiting for my copy of Siege and Storm to arrive so I can jump right back into this world and see where we can go next!

About Leigh Bardugo

Leigh Bardugo was born in Jerusalem, raised in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. These days, she hides out in Hollywood and indulges her fondness for glamour, ghouls, and costuming in her other life as makeup artist L.B. Benson.

Her debut novel, Shadow & Bone (Holt Children’s/Macmillan) is now a New York Times Best Seller.

She would be delighted if you followed her on Twitter, elated if you visited her web site, and downright giddy if you liked Shadow & Bone on Facebook.

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

49 Responses to “Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo”

  1. Aman

    YAY! I’m so glad that you loved it as well! I’m going to read this series by the end of July and I’m so excited to start it. I love that the world was easy to understand and follow along. Plus, I’m not a fan of love triangles but it looks like it was handled really well in this one. Great review, Sara!

  2. Tanja - Tanychy

    I still haven’t read this book and I’m sort of afraid as everyone love it so I have high expectations. I see that you enjoyed it too so I must read it soon. Great review Sara 🙂

  3. Natalie Aguirre

    So glad you liked this. And the world building was fantastic. I have Siege and Storm on reserve at the library. Can’t wait for it to come in.

  4. Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed

    I love that your going back and reading books that have been out a while. Once it’s out I kind of forget about them. This is not my sort of book (I think) but I keep hearing how great it is which has me interested!

  5. Natalie Natflixandbooks

    I still need to read this one. I’ve heard great things about it and its sequel, but just haven’t gotten around to this series yet. I’m glad you enjoyed this one. It sounds like I need to make some time for it. Great review!

  6. Nick

    Great review, Sara! I loved this book too! I was a bit wary because of the hype but I ended up loving it as much as everyone else did!
    I agree with you! The world building in this book was so rich and easy to understand.
    I adored Mal! He was such a sweetheart! A lot of people were annoyed with him in book 2, but I still loved the guy. As for the Darkling, I don’t see him as a love interest (because he’s way too power crazy), but I love him as a villain! He’s got the crazy evil guy thing going on for him really well! 😉
    Happy that you were a fan of this one! I hope you end up enjoying book 2 too!

  7. Becca

    Ah, I love that you loved this! I need to really read it. My sister was obsessed with Shadow and Bone, and she’s not a big fantasy reader, so I know it must be OUTSTANDING. And now your review, I’m totally sold. I think I’ll be picking it up soon after I finish some other fantasies on my list. Like Sanctum and stuff. Love <3

  8. Jennifer Messerschmidt

    Loved this one! I held off too because fantasies are not always a hit with me. I was still a little confused about the world and the fold but I loved Mal! The Darkling was great too but Alina and Mal are meant to be!

  9. starryeyedjen

    OMG…now I want to re-read both books! 🙂 So glad you loved these after all, even though you were hesitant to give them the time of day. 😛 Just wait…Siege and Storm is even better! I am SOOOO #TeamSturmhond! =)

  10. Sierra

    I have been meaning to get around to this book as well, I’ve heard great things about it but I haven’t ever picked it up. Seeing that it is obviously just good, good, good and the series is continuing…I need to pick this one up! Thanks for the review!

  11. Traci @ The Reading Geek

    Great review! I loved Shadow and Bone! I’m so happy to read you loved this one and that it lived up to the hype for you. I always worry when I read a book that it seems everyone else around you loves. I haven’t read Siege and Storm yet, but I’m really hoping to get to it soon.

  12. Amanda

    Great review, Sara! Shadow and Bone was one of my favorite books from last year, and I’m glad that you gave it a chance. I’m generally not a huge fan of love triangles, but I like the Darkling quite a bit anyway. And the whole “chosen one” theme never gets old for me. I haven’t read Siege and Storm yet myself, but I’m hoping that both of us can get to it soon!

  13. Lauren Elizabeth

    Ooh that Darkling line is probably my favorite from the whole series. SO happy to hear you loved this! Isn’t YA fantasy kicking butt lately? While I didn’t like the sequel quite as much as this, it was still amazing. Can’t wait to hear what you think of Siege & Storm when it gets there!

  14. Alaska Ptarmigan Hunting

    I absolutely adored this book too, I’m so glad you loved it. The world-building was fantastic and I agree with you completely on the Darkling. I couldn’t quite figure him or his motivations out and I really liked it that way. I can’t wait to see what you think of Siege & Storm!

  15. The Readdicts

    I’m so glad you loved this book so much, Sara and I can’t wait for my copy your ordered to come. I’m really excited to step into this fantasy world that sounds amazing! Great review!

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

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