Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
"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."- summary from Amazon

I was a bit worried when starting this book because there was HUGE amounts of hype surrounding it. It took me a bit of time to get into it, but once I did, I completely understood all the hype. Bardugo has created a fascinating world here, though I will admit some of the names for rank just felt weird and like the author was trying too hard to give things a fantasy/alternate reality feel. But that's just a VERY minor complaint.

I liked the slight romance in this book too; usually in a lot of YA, romance is a big part of the plot. Not so here, which I think is what made it so good and different. The main focus is on Alina dealing with her powers, working on them, and attempting to fit in at the royal court. I really liked Alina as a character and it was fun reading her journey. I liked too how Bardugo introduced the various kinds of magic and how to use them. Seeing Alina learn to control her powers and use them during the action-packed climax was amazing to read. Bardugo ends the book on a solid note, ending this particular part but leaving room open for the sequel, which I couldn't wait to read.

Overall, a fantastic trilogy opener and definitely deserves the hype it gets.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.


  1. Yeah, I definitely remember how nervous I was about this book, but at the same time bewilderingly excited in spite of my general anxiety over it. For this one, I was lucky enough to get an ARC and I remember the second I was done with it, I went off to Amazon to go pre-order the bad boy.

    I really loved the Russian-inspired fantasy AND the romance, but, like you, Alina was my main focus. She's flawed, irritating, and yet incredibly real and entirely sympathetic. I loved that she made me feel many things about her, like an actual person would, instead of just being a stock fantasy heroine. :D

  2. Great review. I really liked this. Can't wait to read Siege and Storm.

  3. Great review. I just finished Siege and Storm and LOVED it just as much as Shadow and Bone. I'm all about The Darkling...