Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and BoneAuthor: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1, Grishaverse #1
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Released: June 5th, 2012
Received: Own
Warnings: Animal death
Rating: 4 1/2 kitties

Shadow and Bone is the first novel in a trilogy of the same name by Leigh Bardugo. It’s also the first novel in Bardugo’s groundbreaking larger world, known as the Grishaverse. And I’ve taken entirely too long to get around to reading it. But I’m about to make up for lost time here.

Ravka has been torn apart by war and the Shadow Fold – a tear of darkness across the land that contains within it deadly beasts and monsters. This is the world that Alina and Mal were born into. Raised as orphans, the two of them end up joining the war effort. Only their entire lives are changed thanks to one catastrophic event.

When their regiment took them into the Shadow Fold (yes, the Shadow Fold) they were unsurprisingly set upon by monsters. But this action did result in one surprise – the revelation of Alina’s suppressed power.


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

Spoiler Warning

Warnings: There are some heavier subjects covered in Shadow and Bone. Most of it can be expected, based on the plot. And almost everything is foreshadowed ahead of time, including the animal death.

Shadow and Bone was everything I had been led to expect. And yet it still completely blew me away. What an amazing and striking read. No wonder people have been talking about this series so much, if the first book is anything to go by!

Man, am I completely kicking myself for taking so long to dive into this series. Shadow and Bone was as brilliant and beautiful as all of my friends have been promising. And to think that I might not have read it at this moment, had I not been seeing all of this talk online about the TV adaptation (I’ll confess that it was my fear of spoilers that finally spurred me onward).

I’m completely fascinated by this world. Ravka has so much to offer, and Bardugo did an excellent job creating this lush and dangerous world. I’m desperate to see more of it. I’m also desperate to see more of the Grishas (the magical term in this universe).

I knew that Alina was going to end up with them, based on the description alone. But I don’t think I was fully prepared for everything that happened. Or for how Alina felt about it all. It was emotionally taxing to read at times and yet oh so powerful (no pun intended).

What I loved most about this book is the fact that the main reveal was set up in such a way where it was totally believable from the moment it happened. It made complete sense, but the foreshadowing was subtle enough to not be blatantly (or annoying) obvious. It was the perfect balance.

I don’t typically jump on the ship train for antagonists in series, but this time around I can certainly understand why so many are enjoying this character. And why people are hoping for a redemption plot with him (and if that happens – don’t tell me! I wanna find out for myself).

I know I just finished Shadow and Bone, but I honestly think I’m going to sit back down and read Siege and Storm right away. I’m desperate to see more of this world, and what’s going to happen next. I don’t know how anybody else managed to wait the year (or more) between books as they were releasing.

About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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