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

Title:  Shadow and Bone
Author:  Leigh Bardugo
Series:  The Grisha #1
Publisher:  Henry Holt, an imprint of Macmillan
Publication Date:  June 5, 2012
Pages:  356
Format/Source:  Hardback/Won
Age Group/Genre:  Young Adult/Fantasy

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

Mixed Feelings…

I enjoyed Shadow and Bone.  I did.  But I feel like it didn’t quite measure up to a lot of the other YA Fantasy books I’ve read, like the Throne of Glass series. And I wasn’t really a fan of The Darkling.  I know lots of people LOVE him, and maybe the other books in the series explain why, but I just didn’t like him too much.  I don’t want to go into too much because of spoilers, but I did like the revelations about him in this book.  I went in thinking he was going to be more like that, so when it turned out he was, I was happy.  But I’m definitely Team Mal at this point.

I also felt like some parts were rushed, and Alina kind of went back and forth about her abilities.  I have no powers! I can defeat the Shadow Fold!  I can’t live up to everyone’s expectations!  Why doesn’t The Darkling believe in me? I’m not ready.  Back and forth and back and forth.  I can understand denying her powers at first and not thinking she’s ready (because she wasn’t ready for a lot of the book) but the back and forth thing got really old.

BUT I did like the fact that there was action right off the bat.  Death right away.  And I really enjoyed the last third of the book.  And I loved Genya, especially the fact that she is so complex near the end–you’re not really sure of her intentions.  And I really loved the revelation about the Volcra.  It reminded me of Firefly and Serenity.  And what a beautiful map at the front! That map earns 50,000 of my bonus points.

My rating for Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo:

4 stars.  I did enjoy it, and I’ll definitely be reading the rest of the series. I want to meet this Sturmhond character I’ve heard so much about!

Find it:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ Macmillan
You may also enjoy:  Daughter of Smoke & Bone │ Throne of Glass
Disclaimer:  I won this book through a giveaway.  I was in no way compensated for this review.


  1. bookscleverness

    July 11, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Great review! And yes, definitely keep reading to meet Sturmhond – he's one of my favorite characters! :D

  2. pagesunbound

    July 12, 2014 at 5:43 am

    I had a similar reaction to the book. I like it, but I wasn't quite as blown away as I was expecting.

    I was actually taken off guard by the plot twist, though!

  3. Kate Midnight Book Girl

    July 12, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    I did finally break down and buy this on audible. I avoided it when it first came out simply because I confused it with Daughter of Smoke and Bone for a long time. ;)

  4. Jennifer Hunter

    July 17, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    I like Sturmhond, but I'm going into R&R totally unsure what the heck I want to happen! I'll be interested to see what you think of the others!

  5. LHughes

    July 18, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    I've purchased this one, and I'm happy to hear there was action right off the bat as well as Firefly undertones! I'm curious about this Darkling character and whether I'll feel similar to you… Thanks for your honest review :)

    Lauren @ Wordy Hughes

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