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Monday, 31 July 2017

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo


Book: Shadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo
Series: Shadow and Bone #1
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Release Date: June 5th 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.

Short version: I loved this book. I loved the characters, the setting, the intrigue of the Grisha and their unique powers and their political standing and power within the palace. I loved our main character, Alina, and the turmoil she goes through during the story. I sat down to start this book and had it devoured three days later. It was impossible to stop reading.

Long version: This is a world divided into ordinary people and those born with unique powers, called the Grisha. This story follows an exceptionally ordinary and not-very-special girl called Alina, a map maker in the King’s First Army. She’s been an orphan her whole life, but never truly alone as she was always with her childhood best friend, Mal, who is a tracker in the Army. Everyone in the army is afraid of entering an area called the Fold, which was created centuries ago to divide certain different regions and is pitch black. There are winged creatures that live in the Fold called Volcra that hunt anyone foolish enough to enter the Fold unprepared.

When the First Army has no choice but to enter the Fold, everyone is attacked by these Volcra but they are saved a miraculous beam of light that scared all the Volcra away. It turns out that Alina has had a Grisha power hidden deep inside her entire life, but it has finally been released to save herself and Mal.

However, once this has been discovered, a powerful Grisha known simply as the Darkling, who is second to the King, takes Alina away from everything she knows and to the Little Palace, where she is to be trained to understand her power and help get rid of the Fold once and for all.

First off, The Darkling. You get a sense straight away that he is hiding a lot of secrets but you don’t care because he is the perfect anti-hero and they are my downfall. He was pulling some seriously shady decisions and it was impossible to know if he could truly be trusted, but that didn’t stop me from falling hard for him completely. Whenever he and Alina were together I just got goose bumps and felt as confused as Alina did.

Alina is a really strong, stubborn female lead who is instantly likable and great to read about. While she does experience that YA trope of “ordinary girl discovers she isn’t ordinary but extra super special”, this was written in 2012 when that wasn’t as overused, but more than that, it is written well. That makes all the difference. She was witty and relatable and just trying to get through her new life as best she can. I also loved her friendship with Genya, which felt so genuine, and I hope we see more of her in the coming books.

Mal is her childhood best friend and also the boy she fell in love with at fifteen. And while he is good and kind and understands Alina like no one else and makes her feel less alone, he doesn’t bring the emotion like the Darkling does. In every one of these love triangles, it’s always the brooding antihero that wins my heart in the end. Sorry Mal.

This book attached itself to my heart in a way I haven’t read about in a long time, and I cannot wait to jump back into book 2 and keep reading about these fantastic characters and intriguing world. I’m so moving on Six of Crows after this!


  1. YES. I completely agree. This was an amazing book, and I can’t wait to see what you think of the rest of the series (in my opinion each book just gets better and better). Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review!

    ~ Zoe @ Stories on Stage

    1. Thank you so much! I've just put up the next two reviews as I was away for a few weeks and couldn't, so I hope you love them too!

  2. THE DARKLING <3. I'm sorry, but he is right up there on my list of villains I love. The intrigue, the mystery...ahhh, I'm a sucker for those. I love this world so much! I'm looking forward to your next reviews of the series! Great review, Sinead :)

    1. Oh God, yes. The Darkling is so fantastic, those misunderstood villains are always so much more interesting than the quintessential good guys! Thank you so much xx


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