Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha Trilogy #1
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (Macmillan)
First published: June 5th, 2012
Source: NetGalley
Format: eARC
Pages: 368
Goodreads Summary:
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.

My Rating: 4.5 / 5

First thoughts:
Living up to the hype surrounding it, Shadow and Bone turned out to be a captivating novel, set in an imaginative world of magic, darkness and a young girl's journey to find out where she truly belongs. Despite a somewhat slow start, I couldn't help but fall in love with this story and can't wait to find out what Alina will experience in the second novel of this really intriguing series.

More detailed:
When it comes to books which are being hyped a lot, I'm always quite skeptical. Often they can't live up to my expectations and I end up being disappointed. Luckily Shadow and Bone doesn't fall into that category and surprised me with its uniqueness and magical world-building. If you are just as afraid as I had been that you might be disappointed, give this book a chance - it lived up to its reputation.

At first though, I needed some time to get into the story, which is probably the reason why I didn't feel like giving this five stars. I often have that problem with fantasy and / or historical settings, because the world the characters live in is so different from what I'm used to. But after a few chapters I felt more comfortable in this world and was sucked into it.

Shadow and Bone's protagonist Alina is a feisty but relatable young girl who's leading a not-so-perfect life, but seems to be able to deal with it nonetheless. An unrequited crush and the fear of the Shadow Fold plague her, but nonetheless she's "normal." At least until she realizes that there's more to her and that she possesses a power many people will be interested in.

I completely adore the Grisha mythology, which builds the foundation for Shadow and Bone. Adding Alina's experiences in their world, Leigh Bardugo has weaved an addicting tale of political intrigues and magic, making it hard to guess what might happen next and therefore difficult to put this first book of a trilogy down.

All in all, Shadow and Bone ended up being just as awesome as I expected it to be. With a bittersweet love story, which frustrated me just as much as it made me want to swoon, and a unique world-building, I'm sure that the Grisha trilogy will be on my favorite-lists. Personally, I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel and I'm hoping that Leigh Bardugo will continue to surprise me with her ideas.

Debut Author Challenge 2012

Have you read Shadow and Bone? What did you think about it?
Do you plan to read it?

Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!


  1. I'm glad to hear it lives up to its hype! I have to read this book soon! Thanks for sharing your review. :)


  2. Can´t wait to read it! This is one of the books that I must have this summer.
    Great review!

  3. When there is so much hype around a book I'm skeptical, but here? I cannot wait! Bloggers I trust all gave this book between 4 and 5 stars and were raving in their reviews! Now you feel the same about this book and I am completely sold!!! Got my copy and cannot wait to read it!!

    1. I really hope that you're going to enjoy it, too! :)

  4. Honestly I wasn't even going to give this book a second look but then I read so many reviews (like yours) where they talked about how great it was. Now I really want to read it and hopefully I won't be disappointed. I don't think I will be though. Great review!

    1. Thank you!

      It was actually similar for me. At first I didn't really care about it, but the more often I saw it on other blogs, the mre I wanted to read it myself. I hope that you're going to enjoy it as well. :)

  5. I thought this book was brilliant and am really looking forward to the sequel! I also recommend everyone - even those of you who arent massive fantasy fans give it a try. It truly is a fab read - great review :)

  6. I have to read this! And the trailer?! Truly amazing! I love it. Can't wait to read this. I know i'm going to love this!

    Great review! =D

  7. What an amazing review, Carina! I LOVE that you loved this and that it wasn't a disappointment. The world-building seems so so so fantastic and I can't wait to read about the Grisha mythology - it sounds so unique and original! Plus, Alina sounds like a pretty butt-kicking protagonist :) Thank you so much for getting rid of all the doubts I had about starting this book haha! Though now I have to wait ever so impatiently for my copy to arrive in the mail and after your review, the wait is killing me! :/

    1. Then I hope that your copy will arrive soon - I know that torturous feeling of having to wait for a book I'm dying to read. It's not nice. :D

      Thanks a lot for your lovely and thoughful comment. :)

  8. YAY! :D I am so glad you loved this book. <3 And I adore your review. I didn't have the trouble you did in the beginning, but I can understand why you did. :) The love story frustrated me too. But only because of the sort of triangle :p I loved Mal. <3 favorite character. :) And yes, the world is just amazing :D I loved everything in this book. Sigh. I need my hardcovers to arrive so that I can re-read it. <3 :)

    1. I don't have a problem with the love triangle, but I still love Mal more. :D Really crossing my fingers for them to work everything out. ♥
      Definitely need to get a finished copy as well to add to my collection. Very re-read worthy. :)

  9. Great review! I'm really excited about this one and I hope to get my hands on it soon. I'm so glad you loved it! :)

    ~Emily@Emily's Crammed Bookshelf

  10. I'm like you, Carina, very skeptic to books that are hyped up to the sky and beyond ;) That being said I find that all the book bloggers I tend to pick up advice on books from likes "Shadow and Bone". Sometimes I at least see one negative review but not this time it seems.

    It sounds like a great story with exiting mythology. Can't wait to read it :) Great review, Carina.

  11. So glad to see that you enjoyed this! I have heard nothing but good things, and I was worried as well that I wouldn't like it. I can't wait to read it now. :) Great review!

  12. Do I plan on read Shadow and Bone? YES, especially now after your review! Everything I've read about this book has been positive and I'm eager to dive into this world. The mythology sounds so different and I love the sound of a bittersweet love story. I'll need to bump this up on my list!


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