Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo | Book ReviewShadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #1
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on June 5th 2012
Genres: Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 358
Format: Hardcover

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 is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy.

What I thoughtI finished this book a few weeks ago. This review had been long coming, but exams got in the way, and before you know it the whole month has almost flown (Although that’s what December does isn’t it?). I borrowed a copy from a good friend of mine, and I realized after the first few pages that this book was going to be good. I have no idea why it took me this long to read Shadow and Bone. Especially since I love a good fantasy read (it IS my most read genre this year). So I am a bit late to the party… but hey, I got there and now I get to read all of them since all of the books in the series have been published already! Yay!

This book was just so different. And I mean this in a good way: I’ve never read anything like it. I don’t know what I expected when I finally picked this book up, but I know that it was nothing close to what the book turned out to be. The Russian-ish fantasy setting was a first for me. It was unique and original and just pretty damn awesome.

The word-building was great. It added so much to the setting and truly made it thrive. The  world of the Grisha’s was mysterious and extremely interesting. The ‘magic’, the different ranks, the Russian words, just woah! There was just so much to discover, and with every page I turned I found more aspects of the world that intrigued me.

The plot was so incredibly good! It is filled with action and intrigue and there’s so much to take in. Half of the time I had no idea what to think of the Darkling, his intentions were such a mystery. I seemed to like him just fine the one moment, then dislike him the next. I had no idea what to expect and it kept me on my toes. This while being immersed into this beautifully vivid fantasy world, a combination that had me turning pages feverously until the very last one.

The characters were great. Alina develops a great deal throughout the story, and I had no trouble at all connecting with her. I loved Mal. I hope we get to see a little bit more of him in the next books, because he seemed like a great character. The Darkling… As I said before, was pretty much a mystery to me. Which is also why I find his character so incredibly intriguing (I’ve used that word way to many times in this review, but it’s the only word that accurately describes what I am feeling). I would have liked for the other Grisha’s to have a little more depth though, they were really in the background the whole time, and I would really like to know a little bit more about them.

The one thing that was a bit confusing were the Russian terms. While they added to the setting and the world-building, I had sometimes trouble keeping up with them. They sometimes were hard to remember (or define). Maybe a little list with words at the end of the book would have solved this.

Final verdict IRISJEXX!

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If you’re looking for a good and solid fantasy you should most definitely consider reading Shadow and Bone. You’ll find it hard not to fall in love with the beautiful and vivid world Leigh Bardugo created. The story is unique and original and the plot is incredibly intriguing. I was left with lots FEELS when I got to the ending of this book, and will definitely pick up the sequel while on my skiing trip next week!