Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Published: June 5th 2012 by Henry Holt and Co.
Series: The Grisha #1
read in: June 2015

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

young adult • fantasy • romance

“What is infinite? The universe and the greed of men.”

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.


I have a mixed feeling about this book. What I felt mostly lacking in this book was the world building. The first half of the book didn’t really describe the world well. I felt like the main focus was either about fashion and looks, how grande is this room and that room, or girls jealousing, bitching and fighting one another. I guess this book kind of started like Throne of Glass, but worse.

A few months ago, I would have dreaded a night like this: a performance, playing dress-up with hundreds of beautiful people in their beautiful clothes. I was still nervous, but I though it all might actually be … fun.

Alina’s character was merely okay for me. I wanted so many things from her. I wanted her to be more badass and strong, more curious about what’s happening instead of feeling homesick and avoiding the truth. I mean, wouldn’t she really want to know what the hell is happening to her after all? All she did was thinking about Mal and not that shocking fact in front of her. I don’t know, I really struggled flipping those pages in the first half with all the beauty-obsessiveness scenes and sulky heroine.

I loved Genya’s character. She wasn’t perfect but she was supportive and still gave warning and advices to Alina even when she should have not. Though she was getting on my nerves sometime, I’ve read The Tailor (The Grisha Trilogy #1.5) which was told from her perspectve and I kind of understood her position so I think she’s my favorite female character in this book.

What I think saved this book was how Bardugo made me swooning because of the romance. Ahh, the romance. . To be honest, I kind of liked the love triangle here. The Darkling was really mysterious and sexy and full of surprises.  He was cool and collective but arrogant at the same time (kind of the alpha-male). Mal was more of the sensible and trusted for a long term relationship. Though I’m rooting for Mal, I’m stil very intrigued and swooned all over The Darkling. XD

The writing was no doubt, beautiful. I also love how Bardugo give some Russian vibe inside (whether it’s accurate or not), but it would have been more easier if those Russian words were placed in more obvious scene so that I could just put the sentences together and guessed it by myself.

“When a fire burns, it uses up the wood. It devours it, leaving only ash.”

Let’s hope the second book will be something I enjoy more.




13 thoughts on “Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

  1. Oh haha, seems like we’re twinning (posting the same review on the same day)! The really funny thing is I was pretty happy with the world building for the most part. But the Russian mythology wasn’t that strong and I agree the beginning was pretty slow. The pacing was really weird but the romance made me love it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaa I think not just the first book, but we will be reviewing the entire series at the same pacing if I didn’t get too distracted XD

      I liked the world building to revolve more around the politics and how the Grisha started to become the King’s army. They were sort of like X-Men and I wish to know how the society approved them at the first place instead of being scared. I hoped Bardugo save it for later then.
      And yes, the romance ahh I enjoyed this book veryy much all thanks to The Darkling. I really cannot be trusted reviewing a book with hot guys hahaha XD

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t read as fast as I’d like, so it’s likely you’ll be posting the reviews before I will!
        And actually, I totally understand what you mean but I’m glad you enjoyed The Witch of Duva! 🙂


      • 90%? Oh my! ….yeah, I think I’m on chapter 7-ish, lol. So I guess syncing the reviews is so not happening! XD
        And I haven’t!! But I could tell you really enjoyed it! I think I’ll give it a go after I finish the trilogy though. That way I have something to read when I miss the Grisha world after finishing the series and will have to wait for Six of Crows.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, it wasn’t connected to the main story but you can feel the vibe of the same world. I am also looking forward to read Six of Crows. I hope it’s more of my taste. 😀

        By the way, did you know that I tagged you in the Disney Book Tag? I forgot to mention it on your blog so you probably don’t know. That was my first time doing tags so I hope you don’t mind that I just realized my failure for not telling you back then. Still, I would like you to do it if you haven’t. XD

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hopefully it will be! There’s been a lot of hype ever since Fierce Reads and Leigh Bardugo have been sending out those Six of Crows boxes. Like, don’t they look amazing?
        And oh, I had no idea!! That’s okay …even when I don’t blog I usually try scrolling through my feed to check what other bloggers have been posting but I guess I missed it! Thanks so much, Tiffani! I’ll check it out now. 🙂


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