Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

6.-Shadow-and-Bone-finalShadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #1 (1/3)
Published by Henry Holt & Co. on June 5, 2012
Genres: [Young Adult] High/Epic Fantasy
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

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4 Stars, Completed June 17, 2015

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2:52 am. That was the time I finished the book. I know for some of you avid, voracious readers reading past 2 am is nothing, but it’s been a really long time since I’ve pulled a late night because I was too absorbed in a book. Shadow and Bone was just that good. There were a few aspects I weren’t a fan of hence why it didn’t get 5 stars, but it definitely awakened the fangirl in me.

In Shadow and Bone, the nation of Ravka has been divided into two for centuries due to the creation of the Shadow Fold, a stretch of darkness that houses flesh-eating monsters making it impossible for the people of Ravka to cross it. Alina Starkov is a young, plain orphan but as she travels the Fold for the first time she discovers some dormant powers within her. Soon she’s thrown into the magical world of the Grisha elite, where she’s sent to train at the Little Palace. The Darkling, the most powerful and mysterious Grisha, takes an interest in her and claims that she can save Ravka’s people by destroying the Fold. Despite being swept up into this new lifestyle and charmed by the Darkling’s suggestive persuasions, she can’t help but remember her childhood best friend, Mal, and her previous life.

From my short summary alone, it already sounds like a formulaic, young adult read, doesn’t it? And I can’t deny that it isn’t. Alina is another mundane girl that happens to discover that she has profound powers that can save the world (or in this case kingdom). Of course, in the process she has a guy that helps her achieve this. And there’s an evil dude. And a love triangle. This was very much a generic ya read, but you know what? It being one didn’t bother me at all.

There were a bunch of elements that made it a unique enough read for me. The writing is simple but very engaging. And what made the story so compelling to read was the characters. Originally, I thought Alina was a boring protagonist but her character goes through a lot of development after some events and she becomes much more interesting. Then there’s sweet and caring Mal that happens to be completely oblivious to Alina’s romantic feelings towards him. I enjoyed every single appearance he made in the book. There’s the dark and mysterious Darkling, a character I fell for immediately. But I was pretty annoyed that the Darkling had an interest in Alina in the beginning. It was too sudden and things became a little predictable because of it. And where did that kiss come from?? I was also so invested with the slow burning romance in Shadow and Bone. I am totally in favor of this love triangle as strange as that sounds.

Also, the overall world building was well done. I know a lot of readers that didn’t like this book claimed that the Russian inspired elements were a bit off and on the weak side. And it’s true, this isn’t a Russian mythology tale, but that wasn’t actually how The Grisha trilogy was originally slated. Leigh Bardugo once mentioned that Ravka and its language was only heavily inspired by Russia and most of the terms were self-invented by her in order to keep it simple. And in doing that, I thought it really helped her readers not become overwhelmed with learning new terms and having to flip to a glossary.

However, the pace of Shadow and Bone was pretty wonky. The first half that explained Ravka, the Grisha hierarchy, and Alina’s preparation to cross the Fold was on the slower side; but the remaining half was extremely fast pace. This and the sudden kiss from the Darkling was what made me deduct the star, but both are minor flaws. I really loved Shadow and Bone overall.

I don’t tend to prefer immediately writing reviews for books after I’ve read them just because I need time to think clearly. And I was definitely not thinking clearly by the end of this book. Shadow and Bone gave me an unwarranted book hangover I did not see coming. Good thing there’s still two more books! I’m for sure going to start Siege and Storm today. (I told myself to wait until I posted this review, haha. Restraint, Summer. Restraint.)

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37 thoughts on “Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      …yeah… It took me a while. The crazy thing is I’ve had this trilogy on my shelf for the past 6 months. It’s wild that I didn’t feel compelled to pick it up despite the praise it’s received. And oh my gosh, THE DARKLING! T_T And thanks, Raven!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Miguel @ The Quirky Reader says:

    WHO IS YOUR SHIP – that is the most important question to ask someone who’s reading the Grisha. I’m really really happy that you enjoyed this! It makes me smile when people read my favourite books – it’s like we’re in the same fan club or something?

    P.S. Get ready for Sturmhond.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      Is it bad that I ship her with the villain? I DON’T KNOW WHY I LOVE THE DARKLING SO MUCH. But I do. He’s bad news but he just seems so right for Alina. T.T Sigh.
      And I totally get it. It even feels better when the person you recommended the book to loves the book as much as you did!
      And I’m only on chapter 7 of S&S, but I LOVE STURMHOND ALREADY. He’s so clever and I love his wit. I’m just kind of wary after the Darkling. He better not turn bad, too!

      Like

      • Wesaun @ Oreos and Books says:

        I love a good villain; shame I didn’t get that far. Oh well. The beginning was hella slow. I like to read world building but I had the TBR, and I was like NAHHHHHH. I didn’t. raises hand in surrender I legit read 2 chapters, and was like “Nah, I’m out.” I usually read 11 chapters before DNF’ing, which is how much I read up to in my first DNF, but idk—something in me just…couldn’t. Maybe, I’ll start again. Maybe I’ll just check out Six of Crows. shrugs We’ll see? Lol.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Summer @ Xingsings says:

          Oh my gosh, lol. I see, you’re keeping it real. You’re right though, that TBR pile is pretty influential for me too.
          But that’s funny that you try to read up to 11 chapters, that can really vary text-wise depending on how long a chapter is. 😛 Nice strategy, anyhow. And I actually hardly DNF a book. I’ve only done that to two books.
          But yes, SoC sounds promising! And I know it’s one that doesn’t require you to read this trilogy (if you never decide to pick it up again).

          Liked by 1 person

              • Wesaun @ Oreos and Books says:

                The only book I’ve reread is SIMON VS, and not even fully. Maybe about half of the book through my favorite scenes and passages. I am not a rereader in general. Life is too short for that. Cool if you do, though. I’m revisiting The Perks of Being A Wallflower and More Than This because I know it was just bad timing. I don’t usually revisit my DNF’s, otherwise. Again, life’a too short and there’s probably a reason why I DNF’d in the first place.

                It’s alright to feel horrified. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with reading 30 books a year. There’s nothing wrong with READING, period. Speed or amount. Ebook or physical. You know?

                Liked by 1 person

                • Summer @ Xingsings says:

                  That’s really interesting; I totally understand your theories! Ahh, leave it to you to make me feel good. You’re always so positive! 😀
                  Now I kind of understand why most of your posted reviews are on the pretty positive side. I guess you don’t mention much about your DNF’d ones, which isn’t a bad thing. 🙂

                  Like

                  • Wesaun @ Oreos and Books says:

                    Ah, thank you! I feel absolutely terrible when I’m not. Especially to you, you’re so sweet!

                    Yeah, I haven’t DNF’d much since I’ve began the blog, though because of finals and such. But then again, I suppose reviewing DNFs would just be a waste of time to me? I definitely am aiming to be a bit more critical, but I’ve loved the books I’ve read before. If I don’t like a book, I tend not to bother writing a review…but I’ll probably throw out a few of those critical reviews every once in a while. And if I don’t like an ARC, DRC—that’s definitely going to come across in reviews. I do want to focus on positives before I get into negatives, or points for improvement—I suppose. Oh goodness, I’m consuming so much of your time!

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

                      Oh my gosh, haha, I don’t think I’m sweet… But, thank you! ^.^ And don’t feel bad, we all have our pessimistic side sometimes!
                      Ahh, I definitely see your angle. I know there are some books out there that I could have just DNF’d. Oh well! And I’ll be on the lookout for those critical reviews in the future. 😉
                      And, I love talking and getting to know you more, Wesaun! So there’s no such thing as consuming my time. 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

  2. Aimee says:

    Fantastic review, Summer! So glad you enjoyed this. 🙂 AND I TOTALLY AGREE ABOUT THE DARKLING THING–so glad I’m not alone! That’s actually the main reason I only gave the book 3 stars!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      Thank you, Lauren! Despite the flaws, I was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable this one was as well. I’m so glad I picked up the trilogy though. And I saw on your GR that you’re reading S&S and R&R. I just finished R&R on the 5th and I’m so conflicted on how to review it. I look forward to reading what you think on those if you decide to review them! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        • Summer @ Xingsings says:

          Have you reviewed this trilogy, Analee? Because I am seriously so conflicted about R&R. It was both satisfying and disappointing for me. Like I liked how it ended overall, I hate to say it, but Leigh did take some shortcuts (there’s loopholes and things left unexplained).

          Liked by 1 person

          • Analee @ Book Snacks says:

            Not yet, but I’m hoping I’ll get the chance once I’ve reviewed the books I’ve read this month & in May/June! I totally get where you’re coming from though, I mean, it’s really hard to get a conclusion to a series perfect. I guess for me, compared to other book series, Ruin and Rising was alright as an ending. I mean, I guess it could’ve been better, but I still really liked it, you know? It’s very addicting, and there things that I would’ve wanted differently, but I think I’m generally okay with it. Looking forward to your review on it! ❤

            Liked by 1 person

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