Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – 4 stars (out of 5)

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)

Synopsis from Good Reads:

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 unraveling 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?

MY THOUGHTS:

-This is another of those books that I thought didn’t look like anything I’d like, but I really ended up enjoying it. It reminded me a bit of the Shatter Me series and a bit of The Bone Season, while still being it’s own story.

-There was a list in the beginning of the book that listed the different kinds of Grisha – people with special powers. It didn’t really explain what they were, though, and there was little definition in the actual story. I would’ve liked a little more of an explanation to start with instead of just throwing out the terms and letting us eventually catch up.

-Alina was a well-developed and mostly likable character. The story was told through her 1st person POV, so I felt a good connection with her. I would’ve liked to have seen Mal – her best friend/love interest – a little more developed. And then there’s the Darkling. I wanted more, more, more of the Darkling. Not because I loved him, but I was intrigued by him. Like Alina, I could never really get a good read on him.

SPOILERS

-I was actually surprised when we find out that the Darkling is the bad guy – The Black Heretic. I know I shouldn’t have been. I mean, his name is Darkling. Like there was ever a chance that he’s the hero of the story. But even in his villainy, he’s still such an interesting and charismatic character. I’m still not completely convinced that he won’t be redeemed later in the series.

-I felt like Alina and Mal’s relationship was pretty predictable. They’ve been best friends since childhood and she’s in love with him. He obviously feels the same, but doesn’t realize it until after she’s gone. None of the revelations or happenings between them was at all a surprise. I still like them together, though. I’m always a sucker for the neglected best friend – even if in this instance it was the guy neglecting the girl.

END OF SPOILERS

-Overall, I really enjoyed Shadow and Bone – much more than I thought I would. Though there were a few slow parts, it was mostly well paced and always had me eager for the next chapter. I’ve already read the next book in the series, Siege and Storm, and really look forward to the conclusion coming out next year. I would recommend this book to all those interested in sci-fi/fantasy YA or those that enjoyed The Bone Season and Shatter Me.

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16 thoughts on “Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – 4 stars (out of 5)

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  7. This is on my TBR shelf. I attended a talk by Leigh Bardugo and Maureen Johnson at the Edinburgh Book Festival and would like to read both of these authors at some point. Thanks for your review.

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