Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Samstag, 2. Dezember 2017

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Published: June 5th 2012 by Henry Holt and Company
Number of Pages: 358 Pages (Paperback)
Series: Yes, #1 in the Grisha Trilogy or Grishaverse

   Alina Starkov doesn't expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, she is sure of only one thing: her best friend, Mal--and her inconvenient crush on him. Until the day their army regiment enters the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. When their convoy is attacked and Mal is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power not even she knew existed.
   Ripped from everything she knows, Alina is taken to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. With Alina's extraordinary power in his arsenal, he believes they can finally destory the Fold. Now Alina must find a way to master her untamed gift and somehow fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. As the threat to the kingdom mounts and her dangerous attraction to the Darkling grows, Alina will uncover a secret that could tear her heart--and her country--in two. (

   I've heard a lot about this book and the trilogy over the years since it came out. It was all over booktube and bookstagram, and everyone recommended it, but despite buying it surely two years ago, I hadn't gotten around to picking it up until the end of November '17. Oops. I didn't really know much about the story before going in, purposefully avoided reading the synopsis, so I just kew that the world was inspired by 19th Century Russia (present me with a book set in Russia or a world inspired by Russia and I will read the shit out of it) and that it contained a character called Darkling and 'magicians' call Grisha. That's it.
   I got sucked into the story easily after maybe two chapters or less and finished the entire book in like two or three days (I mostly got around to reading for an hour or two at night) and loved it! The world was intricate and captivating, the characters three dimensional and interesting (at least most of them), and Leigh Bardugo's writing simply amazing. The way she led certain scenes or moments in the story, it was brilliant. I can definitely understand why everyone was so obsessed with this trilogy because honestly same.

   Alina was a really interesting and fun protagonist and experiencing the story and world through her eyes was great. We got to watch her go through quite the transformation across the story, make mistakes and try to fix them, navigate a society she never thought she would ever be part of, and somehow survive even if the chances were minimal to none. (As slavic person myself and used to how last names work in Russia, the fact that Alina's last name is Starkov instead of Starkova will probably never stop irking me even if it's such a small, unimportant detail.)
   The Darkling was a fascinating character that I'd easily read an entire book about, just have him narrate his everyday life and I'd still read that asap. His particular brand of evil was well crafted and I cannot wait to see how things will develop across the entire trilogy. The Darkling is the sort of evil character that you know you shouldn't like but you can't resist because he is interesting and captivating and marvelously written.
   Out of the three people caught in this love triangle (yes the story unfortunately contains a love triangle, I wasn't a fan when I realized that while reading, I'll admit that) was Mal. It wasn't that he was a bad character or not well written, I just didn't particularly like his sudden change of heart when it comes to Alina. I guess I'll probably warm up to him as the story will continue, or at least I hope so.

   Even though I'm not the biggest fan of magic in books, the way the Grisha were portrayed and explained was amazing, that it was science instead of actual magic, just manipulating the elements around them instead of making things just happen out of thin air. I really enjoyed that a lot. The whole part about the Shadow Fold and how it came to be and what it does, the scenes set within it, now those were amazing and creepy and really creative.
   Leigh Bardugo definitely wrote a brilliant beginning to what promises to be a marvelous trilogy and I honestly cannot wait to continue with Siege and Storm, the sequel to Shadow and Bone, as soon as my copy arrives in the mail. 
I give Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo 5 out of 5 stars.