Shadow and Bone

(The Grisha Trilogy #1, By: Leigh Bardugo)


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.

Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy.

Published June 2012 by Henry Holt and Company


I gave this book 4.5 stars. I’m writing this review after re-reading this book for the second time. Just like my first read, I found myself quickly swept up into this world and loving the main character Alina. This book offers an awesome balance of action and adventure with inner reflection and character growth. I love the way the characters change, and I am a sucker for the villain development that weaves its way throughout this story.

To start, the world of Ravka is immediately enthralling and unique. I love that it is inspired by imperial Russia because it sets itself apart from a lot of other fantasy worlds that I’ve read. The Small Science is an interesting take on incorporating magic into the world and while unique, it is still easy to grasp and understand. Further, I appreciated that the Grisha and regular humans lived side by side, making the magic easily mix into the ordinary aspects of the world.

The characters are really what set this story apart in my mind. Alina is such an easy character to like. She is humble and unassuming at the beginning which gives her so much space to grow and change throughout the book. The Darkling is a fascinating character who builds into something completely unexpected. I also adored how the romance plays out. It is not a huge focus in the sense of stars aligned, fated, all-consuming love; But it is real and reminded me of the way many of us experience love in our lives.

The plot is quickly paced and full of conflict which made this a quick read. The characters and their circumstances constantly pushed the plot forward and built tension. While it was a bit predictable at times, I still found myself invested and digging for more. I really enjoyed Bardugo’s writing style which was expected since I’ve read her Six of Crows series and loved that as well.

Overall, I related to and loved the heck out of the characters in this book. I can’t wait to continue reading about their stories and following along as they continue to develop and change in this thrilling fantasy world.





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