Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo || You know, it’s not that bad

Shadow and Bone

Grisha Verse #1

Leigh Bardugo

book review 1

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.

Publisher: Macmillan

Published: June 5th 2012



Trigger Warning




Death, Murder, War Themes

“If I told you I’m trying to save the world, would you believe me?” 

My motivation for reading this series was my love for the Six of Crows duology. And while it is said that you don’t need to read one to read the other, I felt really proud when I recognized something.

Surprisingly, I enjoyed this way more than I expected to. Granted, I kind of kept my expectations blank while reading this (though not in a bad way), but it’s fine.

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Keeping it short: Alina during a battle reveals a power she didn’t know she had to save her injured friend. Recognized by The Darkling, she is whisked away to train as a Sun Summoner by his side. Won’t lie, it felt a bit monotonous: it is just her training while being pursued by two guys. Not much happens until the end.

Worldbuilding isn’t the best, we’re in one setting the the majority of the book and even then, descriptions weren’t anything that got my imagination going. I mean, it wasn’t really creative anyway: when we weren’t in a castle, we’re in camps and tents. Fun imagery, right?

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However, learning about Grisha’s and their different powers was interesting. I’m partial to Heartrenders because of the amazing Nina Zenik, but that didn’t hinder my enjoyment.

I don’t really get what made Sun Summoners so special…  Heartrenders are way more powerful in my unbiased opinion 😉 . I mean, I get that they’re rare, but I still don’t get it…

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As a main character, Alina really surprised me that’s going to be a phrase I say a lot in this review. Even though her fawning over the Darkling bothered me a bit, it never made me dislike her.

I still don’t get why she was so special, she had the fixings of a special snowflake: plain girl who has rare powers, but I appreciated that she had to work to get better and she wasn’t miraculously good at all the things.

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“The problem with wanting is that is makes us weak.

Now, I’m going to be one of those people who likes Mal over the Darkling. I don’t know, while reading I never got the sense that Mr. Darkling was an actual contender in the forced “love triangle”. I could sense the villain all over him.

And Mal is okay? I have no negative or positive feelings towards him. And reading reviews on him, I expected to hate him… and I didn’t. However, I kind of wish this book was just Alina and Genya conquering the world. Speaking of Genya, I did not expect to love her as much as I did? And the ending kind of has me sad and confused when it comes to them? Like, I don’t know where their friendship is going and I NEED to know.

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I don’t usually like flashbacks in books, but I loved the ‘Before’ chapters to when they were kids. The omniscient POV in the ‘Before’ and ‘After’ chapters was also really good. There were a lot of side characters that I also came to care for. It takes a lot for me to actually care for side characters, but I wouldn’t mind a short story about a few of them.

“I’m not like you, Mal. I never really fit in the way you did. I never really belonged anywhere.”

“You belonged with me.” 

Now, a major thing that bothered me was Mal’s sudden feelings towards Alina. When he gives her that speech on missing her everyday and ‘seeing her now’, it rubbed me the wrong way. Like, she looks good now, you see her with another guy, she’s powerful and NOW you see her? I just wish he had a more valid reason to ‘seeing her now’. It seemed phony and I hate that trope.

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“I’ve been waiting for you a long time, Alina,” he said. “You and I are going to change the world.” 

On a positive note, the ending did make my heart race. For some reason, my brain wasn’t comprehending that this was only the first book in the series and kept thinking There’s not enough pages left to end this.

Though I never really trusted the Darkling, the 180 on his character did kind of make me look twice. He went from this dark, brooding, mysterious love interest to a really cruel guy… and I was expecting that in book 2. But, I was very satisfied with the ending. It exceeded my expectations so getting into the next one shouldn’t take long.

5 thoughts on “Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo || You know, it’s not that bad”

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