[Book Review #30] Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo


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.

Book Specifications:

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Format: Hardcover

Part of a Series: Yes. The Grisha Trilogy #1.

Release Date: June 5, 2012

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

No. of Pages: 368 pages

Price: 865.00Php

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Russian, Adventure, Dystopian, Paranormal

Book Review:

The Cover: The cover features a Russian type of infrastructure with abstract designs on both sides of the book. The color patterns are attractive and so is the font. The font might be one of my favorites, used in a book cover. I absolutely loved it! And just by looking at the cover, you could guess that it’s of Russian inspiration. Russian culture happens to be one I am most interested in. So, I’m giving this a good rating. (5 out of 5 stars)

The Story: The story is focused on a girl named Alina Starkov, whose self discovery of her powers, and her being the Sun Summoner got the best of her all through out the book, her best friend, Malyen Oretsev, and The Darkling, the mysterious and dark force who leads the Grisha. The Grisha, on the other hand, are an elite force of humans that have varying “magical” talents, who the country of Ravka relies on for their safety against their enemies. Just like in most of my reviews, some important details of the story are listed down below:

  • I loved how the story was focused on or was based on Russian culture. I haven’t read any books that were written with a different inspiration. I found this fact interesting, and it drove me more to read about the story behind Alina, Mal, and the rest of the characters.
  • At first, I really didn’t like how whiny our Sun Summoner was. She had complaints all the time, and at first, as she was trying to cope up with her newly discovered powers, and duties as the sun summoner, it was understandable. But she wouldn’t move on from the fact that there was nothing she can do but to deal with it and man up. She just started embracing what she really was when I was like about to put the book down, which lead me to read it some more.
  • After reading quite a number of contemporaries and romance novels: (Confess, The Last Time We Say Goodbye, The Heir), I decided to take a break and start reading this book to relieve me of those feels. And, to be honest, this book worked like a charm. Shadow and Bone was filled with action, tension, and adventure which took me out of my contemporary streak. It’s a good action novel, thanks to the story.
  • I absolutely adore the beginning of Alina and Mal’s love story. They are best friends. Practically like brothers and sisters, and although they started growing separately before, faith and destiny do have a knack of messing things up just to make sure that the right people end up with the right people. And with that said, I would like to point out that the relationship of our two protagonists, wasn’t the perfect one. But I certainly want to know more as to where it might go.
  •  Now, I don’t know about you guys, but I seriously felt like this book was absolutely slow-paced. It took me a week to read it, when, usually, it would only take me 3 days. Especially with the fact that it’s an action and fantasy type of novel. But, I don’t know. There was something about it that slowed me down. Maybe it’s Alina’s bucket of complaints.

Overall, I liked the story. It stayed true to it’s genre, it’s theme, and the Russian references, to me, were sufficient. I’m looking forward to read the two remaining books in the trilogy, Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising. Hopefully, it still lives up to it’s hype. (4 out of 5 stars)

The Ending: *This part is filled with spoilers. I suggest you skip this part if you don’t want to cry later on.*  I totally fret for Mal’s sake!!! I was afraid he’ll die in the hands of The Darkling, but thankfully, Alina was able to summon the power of her amplifier, the antlers of the Morozova’s stag, and be the badass female she was ought to become! She flew out of the Shadow Fold and was able to free both her and Malyen from the evil clutches of The Darkling. For an ending to a beginning of a trilogy, I say that’s pretty impressive! (4 out of 5 stars)

The Verdict: As I have stated above, Shadow and Bone was a great beginning to the Grisha Trilogy. This novel just set a standard that needs to either be maintained or surpassed by the next two novels in the series. Hopefully, just like this one, they don’t disappoint. (4.33 out of 5 stars)

Quotable Quotes:

“I missed you every hour. And you know what the worst part was? It caught me completely by surprise. I’d catch myself just walking around to find you, not for any reason, just out of habit, because I’d seen something that I wanted to tell you about or because I wanted to hear your voice. And then I’d realize that you weren’t there anymore, and every time, every single time, it was like having the wind knocked out of me. I’ve risked my life for you. I’ve walked half the length of Ravka for you, and I’d do it again and again and again just to be with you, just to starve with you and freeze with you and hear you complain about hard cheese every day. So don’t tell me why we don’t belong together,” – Malyen Oretsev

“The problem with wanting is that it makes us weak.” – The Darkling

“I don’t care if you danced naked on the roof of the Little Palace with him. I love you, Alina, even the part of you that loved him.” – Malyen Oretsev

“I hate hiding how much the stupid things he did hurt me, but I hated the idea of him finding out even more.” – Alina Starkov

“I had spared the stag’s life. The power of that life belonged to me as surely as it belonged to the man who had taken it.” – Alina Starkov


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