Book Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (Spoiler Free)

June 9, 2017

“There is something more powerful than any army. Something strong enough to topple kings, and even Darklings. Do you know what that thing is?…Hope.” – Leigh Bardugo, Shadow and Bone

*Slowly gets sucked into a new series without warning*

Back to the Grishaverse I go! I have been wanting to read this trilogy since I read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom back in March and so far, I have not been disappointed. The synopsis is as followed:

FROM 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.

Shadow and Bone along with the rest of the books in this series is set before the Six of Crows Duology during the Ravkan civil war and it definitely sheds some light on the situation with the Grisha in the future books. However, I am glad I have read the other novels because if I hadn’t I would know how to pronounce any of the words! In fact, I still have trouble with half the words…whoops.


ANYWAYS, I finished this book in about two days and I loved it so much. The magic or “small science” as it is referred to in the novel is so interesting. I love that Bardugo really focuses on it in this series. We get a little bit of information from Nina and Jesper in SOC, but nothing like this. Alina, the main character is, well she’s a bit of a spitfire. I immediately fell in love with her character and as the book is written in first person, we have the opportunity to get to know her and really connect with her as she goes through this journey.

This book is rather fast paced and I love that. Shadow and Bone is a page turner and I found it very difficult to find a place to stop as it’s just non-stop. There were moments of  levity that I found to be very refreshing, but I also like that it would go dark again really fast. I think that this book is great for most readers and if you are a fan of her other series, then this will be a refreshing and loveable read.

For the villain of the book, I wasn’t necessarily surprised about who it was. I kind of knew it was going to be him for a while, but I think I was just in denial because I am a sucker for a dark and brooding romance. I thought he was written perfectly and I cannot wait to see how his fate is decided. For me, a great villain is one you will remember as the one who took you by surprise and that is exactly what happened in Shadow and Bone. Bardugo created these complex and ever-growing characters that left me wanting more and more. There are definitely more layers of each that will be expanded on in the later novels and I am so excited to discover more about them, especially Mal.

My favourite thing about book 1 was that it showed all the layers of the world. It showed the darkness, the light, the poverty, the wealthy, all wrapped up in a spool of deception by one man. I was impressed with this because the book is written in first person and we got to see all of this through just Alina’s eyes and it was very impactful. I tend to gravitate towards books written in third, but it really worked with this one.

Overall, I give this book an easy 5 star rating because it was fantastic. I never felt as if the story was dragging or hating anything in particular. The language was easily understood and the characters were so well developed, I mean it’s just a perfect novel to be honest. I am currently reading the sequel and I have already fallen in love with some of the new characters! I will be doing reviews for both books 2 and 3! If you have already read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom and don’t think you will enjoy this series, I implore you to give it a go! It is an adventure like no other!

Happy Reading!

– Haley


Author: My Thoughts are a Blog

21. Blogger, Star Wars, Marvel, and Book Enthusiast, Over-thinker, Aspiring Author who hates everything she writes, and mother to Gracie & Ghost.

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