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Review | Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy, #1) by Leigh Bardugo


Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Henry Holt and Co. (June 5, 2012) | 368 pages

$10.79 (Amazon, Hardcover) $9.99 (Kindle)

First 5 Chapters are FREE on Kindle.


eARC from Henry Holt and Co (Macmillian Chilren’s) via NetGalley.

My Grade

Plot: 5

Setting: 5

Writing: 5

Originality: 5

Characters: 5

Romance: 5

Overall: 30/30! Fantasical Fantasy!

Title/Cover Bonus: 4


A fantastical fantasy world evolving around two teens with amazing skills and an attraction that can’t be beat or manipulated even by the strongest of the strong.

Summary (Goodreads)

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.


First Line

The servants called them malenchki, little ghosts, because they were the smallest and the youngest, and because they haunted the Duke’s house like giggling phantoms, darting in and out of rooms, hiding in cupboards to eavesdrop, sneaking into the kitchen to steal the last of the summer peaches.

Most Memorable Scene

There are many but I probably enjoyed Mal and Alina’s reunion scene after her show on the stage with the Darkling.


There is a lot going on in the land of Ravka. The world building is phenomenal. We quickly learn about two teenagers, Alina and Mal, who have varing degrees of supernatural skills. Alina is sent to be trained as a Grisha and Mal is put to work in their Army. We follow Alina’s training, learn all about her rare and extremely strong skill. The plot sucks you into this wonderful world. I couldn’t get enough.


Amazing world building! This world is beautiful and full of such creativity that makes you wish you were there. I can’t really explain it but there was just so much going on in both plot and description it was very fulfilling.


I loved that it was written from Alina’s point of view; however, I missed Mal so much! I think Leigh has a superb writing career ahead of her and I can’t wait for her next book. Amazing job!


Sure there are lots of other books out there with characters who possess extraordinary skills. But none of them are any where close to the awesomeness that this book is written in. Alina’s skill alone has not been depicted in anything I’ve read or heard about. The setting that this book is set in is so original I loved watching it play out in my mind’s eye like a theatrical movie!


Alina and Malyen (Mal) are orhans who grew up together in a Duke’s house as young children. Their relationship is dear and way too cute at times. I enjoyed them when they were together in scenes and missed them when they were apart. Alina, as the main character, I enjoyed very much. I liked her strong willed personally. She just about always knew what she wanted and what she was willing to do to get it done.

The Darkling is one fine beast of a young man. He’s unnatural in just about all aspects. I found him mostly creepy, yet he had such a way to make you forget that for small periods of time. I couldn’t help thinking that everything he did was for selfish reasons only, him laying out as many traps as he could to get what he wanted. I also, weirdly, felt sorry for him.

Genya is basically Alina’s personal assistant and her gift is awesome! I loved her character and can’t wait to see more of her in the next book hopefully.


Well, it’s sort of a love triangle but only if you let yourself think of it that way. I mostly didn’t. I was not a fan of The Darkling’s romantic actions towards Alina. It was almost like he had a force over her or something. I never really believed that her attraction to him was her heart but some weird spell he could put on her. I don’t know. The relationship didn’t seem real nor did I see it lasting.

On the other hand I loved Mal! He’s a true romantic guy who doesn’t see Alina in all her glory until after she’s had some of her training. We don’t learn too much about him because the story is from Alina’s point of view. However, we learn enough to know he’s handsome, he’s kind, and he’s an awesome guy. His skill was also pretty interesting.

Title/Cover Bonus

I’m not a fan of either the title nor the cover. I don’t really get the title and the cover is semi fitting but not amazing to me.


I can say I’m pretty happy with the way things ended. I want to know what happens next, of course, but nothing exceptional was  left unsaid or not explained.


Siege and Storm (#2)  will be probably be published this time next year (2013).

Ruin and Rising (#3) will be published in 2014.


Wife, mother of a nearly 7 year old daughter named Madison and new baby boy Riley. Avid reader on my Amazon Kindle. World of Warcraft and CS:S gamer.

3 thoughts on “Review | Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

  1. PRETTY. GORGEOUS. I am so in love with the cover for The Crown of Embers right now!! <3 I thought that the one for the first book was okay, but this one is so much ptretier — I really need to start that series, ASAP! 🙂 And I can't wait until Shadow & Bone comes out too!! With the amount of hype going around it?? It just has to be amazing! 😉 Thank you so much for sharing these gorgeous covers, Natalia! <3 I always love it when you do these things because they make me even more excited! 🙂

  2. ah! I hadn’t seen that trailer! Oh man, book trailers aren’t usually my thing but that one was great.
    (also, ah, you saw my meltdown this book just hit every one of my favourite things)
    But great review! And yes, oh man I need Siege and Storm to come out immediately.

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