Saturday, 30 June 2012

REVIEW: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy, #1)

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha Trilogy
Pages: 368
Genre: YA - Fantasy
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

Synopsis. (Goodreads)

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.

REVIEW: 5 out of 5 stars

I was a bit hesitant about starting on Shadow and Bone, I am not a big fan of high fantasy and unfortunately the synopsis didn’t immediately grab me but I am so thankful I did read it because it was absolutely amazing.

Alina Starkov and Malyen Oretsev are both orphans in the land of Ravka a once great nation now torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a place of darkness which is swarming with what is known as volcra, ravenous, deadly creatures who flock the fold waiting to attack.

Now in the king’s army, Alina is a mapmaker and Mal a tracker and both about to embark on a journey through the fold but when her regiment is attacked by the savage volcra, Alina reveals a dormant power which marks her as a Sun Summoner and a part of the magical elite, Grisha.

Alina has not only saved her best friend but has been noticed by the powerful Darkling who transports her to the little palace where she will learn to harness her magical powers; it is something she struggles with and her loneliness and feelings of not belonging is something that torments her.

What a wonderful, magical journey we are taken on by Ms Bardugo; the world she has created is truly fascinating; the characters come to life as do the surroundings. The terms used were complex and I must admit I am still confused by a few things, including the shadow fold and the intricacies surrounding the palace life – it was overwhelming but enjoyable none the less.

Ms Bardugo’s writing is superb and flowed beautifully, her story-telling is powerful, the plot was solid and kept me engrossed from the very first to the last page; I enjoyed the ominous, dark feel, the unknown and the many plot twists and turns.

I adored Alina, who wasn’t a clich├ęd beauty with a personality that shone; she had her strengths but also her fears – she was believable and I loved watching her grow throughout the book and come into her own. She was upfront in her thinking and with her words which I appreciated. Mal was initially oblivious to Alina’s affections and I was a tad annoyed that he only seemed to notice her once she was enamored by the darkling, I did enjoy the way he protected and cared for her and I liked the banter between them.

I really liked each of the secondary characters – Baghra was demanding but interesting, Genya was a wonderful friend but I questioned her sincerity and I actually thought the darkling was written to perfection, the mystery, power and intrigue surrounding him bought him to life, I loved the scenes he shared with Alina.

Shadow and Bone is detailed, action packed, enthralling and has a setting and a plot that is captivating. With what happened in the end, I am in desperate need of book 2 which unfortunately will not be released until 2013 {argh}.


  1. Now I just want to read this even more, I keep hearing it's really good, but haven't been able to read it yet. Great review!

  2. I really liked the Darkling too until that part. I honestly don't know why I was so surprised but I was. Genya was probably one of my favorite characters-she was in such a tough position but still lived with grace IMO.

  3. I am not a huge fan of fantasy novels either, but this book seems to be the biggest of the summer. I need to get my hands on it! Great review, I'm happy to hear you ended up loving it!

  4. I absolutely loved this book. I was actually quite surprised when I was seeing so many high-praised reviews for this one. Needless to say, this book deserved all of that praise and then some. I felt like I was on a fantasy high after reading it...


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