Oct 23, 2014

Review--Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Alina Starkov doesn't expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, she is sure of only one thing: her best friend, Mal--and her inconvenient crush on him. Until the day their army regiment enters the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. When their convoy is attacked and Mal is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power not even she knew existed.

Ripped from everything she knows, Alina is taken to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. With Alina's extraordinary power in his arsenal, he believes they can finally destory the Fold. Now Alina must find a way to master her untamed gift and somehow fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. As the threat to the kingdom mounts and her dangerous attraction to the Darkling grows, Alina will uncover a secret that could tear her heart--and her country--in two.

So I finally read Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone. What better time then when the trilogy is finished! That way there's none of that pesky waiting in between books! And I have to say I found it quite fascinating!

Shadow and Bone is definitely a fantasy kind of read filled with magic and monsters and of course a heroine with a hero or two along the way. Perhaps the most difficult thing for me to comprehend in the story was all the statuses the Grisha hand and what their powers were. There are a lot of strange names in this one, but that's always a given with fantasies. Country names were even odd to read and knowing the geography of the world was a bit confusing at times too. But as always, I just rolled with it and the enjoyment of the story took its hold on me!

Alina and Mal have been practically inseparable since they were children, both orphans and just trying to make their way in life. Mal is a solider and Alina is a mapmaker and naturally, Alina has been crushing on Mal for years, but Mal rarely sees her in that light. Then one day, they along with a group of their soldiers are sent on a journey for trade or something like that, but it involved passing through the Fold. And this my friends is where the monsters live. When an attack ensues from the monsters there's chaos and panic and Mal is hurt and something unleashes in Alina that saves his life but exposes a hidden power within her and now she finds herself in front of the Darkling.

The Darkling proceeds to take Alina under his wing and into the Grisha fold. She has a lot to learn. The Darkling as you can probably tell from his name, is a powerful figure. He's kinda scary at times too, but yet he's kind to Alina. He talks to her on their journey and treats her respectively. He's nothing at all what she expected.

And wow, can we just say how awesome the Darkling was. And his title, so mysterious. Alina is your typical shy, meek powerless kind of girl who comes into her own. I love that transformation, no matter how many times we see it. It's just remarkable and each author makes that transformation their own and Bardugo is no different. Alina starts growing closer to the Darkling and I sensed that dreaded love triangle springing up since she's always crushed on Mal. And this definitely falls under the love complication even though it's still just Alina and two guys.

Things take a drastic turn when Alina learns that the Darkling has been keeping secrets from her and that's when the danger really antes up in the story. Prior to it was more of the learning experience kind.

I love the characters in this this one. The Darkling for his mysterious qualities. Alina for being a likable heroine. Alina also makes a new friend, Genya who was a delight! She was like a gossipy teenager just thrown into a different time. Mal, for the little we see him was great too and I have a feeling I will just continue to grow feelings for these characters in the next book.

The ending, naturally, was heart-pounding. It was very intense as more events began to unfold and Alina realizes a thing or two. And this is only book 1! I was left shocked at these developments because I really didn't see them coming! But I feel like there has to be more to the story (besides there being 2 more books) and I can't really explain my feelings for spoiler purposes either. Just that I feel like there's definitely going to be a few more realizations to come and I can't wait! Now onto book 2!

Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars


  1. Bwahah I knew this review would be up this week!

    I agree that the names are a bit confusing but I absolutely adore that Bardugo took the time to literally build her own world.

    And yes you'll grow to love the characters even more. And the love triangle gets even MORE complicated in S&S.

  2. I'm so glad you liked this one! I'm such a fan of this series. I definitely agree about the ending being full of action. That's how the whole series goes if I'm remembering correctly, a huge action scene at the beginning and building to a thrilling conclusion! It's so great...
    I hope you love the next two books as much! Great review Jessica!
    Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally

  3. I loved this book and I'm so glad that you did too! There's just so much to love in this series and I'm glad it receives the attention it deserves. Great review!
    -Jon from Bookish Antics!

  4. MY OH MY NOW I REALLY NEED THIS. Now I just need to finish a few more books and then I can finally get it. Great review.

    I am hosting a blogoversary+birthday giveaway on my blog. Do check it here

    Aparajita @Le' Grande Codex

  5. I really, really enjoyed this one! The names tripped me up a little, but the story kept me going. I'm harbouring a not so secret crush on the Darkling! I hope you enjoy the rest of the series just as much!

    Kristen @ One Chapter Ahead

  6. I loved this entire series! To me, its something really unique and interesting.


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