Book Review: Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo


Publication Date: June 5th 2012

Series: The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1

Goodreads Synopsis

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.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

I’m conflicted

Hip hip hurray and three cheers for me, I’ve finally started on the Grisha trilogy! (which isn’t actually called the Grisha trilogy apparently?)

So I’ve read the Six of Crows duology and absolutely loved it just like so many other people but I’ve seen that apparently that duology is on a totally different level to this trilogy so I was nervous going into Shadow and Bone.

I’m pleased to say I really enjoyed this book … for the most part.

Throughout the first half of this book I was leaning towards a solid 4 stars however once the “twist” began and what apparently passed as action began, my rating began to drop.

Starting with the good: I really liked Alina. Alina is the main character who, of course, discovers she has this dormant power within her and she is the only hope to save her country. I liked Alina a whole lot more then I was expecting. This book was published back in 2012 and there’s a big difference between female main characters then and female main character now in the way that they are written and presented. I think what I loved about Alina was that she was really down to Earth. I also really enjoyed her friendship with Genya and I’m hoping to see more of that.

I also really liked The Darkling. I can’t really say much about him but I do feel like there’s so much potential for his character and I’m excited but also really nervous because I feel like in the long run I’m going to be let down.

Now. Where it started to go down hill was around mid way through when the “twist” happened. I knew vaguely what the “twist” was because people mention it all the time in tags and such but it felt kind of odd to me. Like there wasn’t many clues or hints dropped.

Overall my favourite parts were Alina at the Little Palace learning about her power and after that went away I kind of lost interest.

Also Mal. The story went off the tracks big time when he became more involved in the plot. I wish he’d been eaten. No joke. I don’t really think he’s a vital part of the story, and what importance he does have could easily be substituted for something else. I think the story would have been so much better if he’d been eaten in the beginning of the book. Sorry not sorry. (I feel like I’m not alone in this sentiment though).

The final half of the book felt like there should have been more action and consequence and instead there was just a lot of camping and romance which I didn’t like. And then the actual ending of the book, in my opinion, was just weird. It felt oddly final considering this is book one of three.

I am planning on continuing on with this trilogy so I can read the Nikolai trilogy and because I liked Alina so much I want to see how her story plays out,  but I really don’t know where the plot is going.

(I mean I kind of do because I read Crooked Kingdom which reveals a certain amount of stuff but I don’t know the finer details)

4 thoughts on “Book Review: Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo”

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