‘Shadow and Bone’ by Leigh Bardugo

10194157Shadow and Bone

by Leigh Bardugo

Henry Holt and Co.

358 pages

Pub. Date:   June 5, 2012

Book received from:  Won from Elizabeth Norris, author of the Unraveling series


Genre:  YA Fantasy

Series:  The Grisha #1

Cover:  I like that it is very different from most the YA out there right now.  It really works with the feeling of the story well, and allows the reader to envision things for themselves while reading as well.

Characters:  Absolutely spot-on.

Tagline:  A dark heart.  A pure soul.  A love that will last forever.  (This is the UK tagline, and it really is quite misleading as to what the story is about.)

For Fans Of:  Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, Game of Thrones

Rating:  4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Worth the read?  Absolutely.  This is what fantasy is all about, right here.

From the Cover:  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.

The Short & Sweet of It:  I have read so many good things about Shadow and Bone that I thought it could not possibly live up to my expectations.  However, it exceeded every one of them.  This is what fantasy is about.

A complex and strong protagonist that is not afraid to conquer her weaknesses.  A true friend that remains loyal despite hard times.  Mystery, intrigue, deceit, power- this really has it all, while not ignoring class issues and the importance of identity.  There is a certain genius to Bardugo’s approach to world-building.  At first, it seems a bit dense of a world to become immersed without much description, but it quickly begins to unfold through the eyes of the characters, rather than that of the author.  I am not much of one for overly descriptive reads, so this kind of world-building is perfect for me, and actually reminded me of Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, complete with a bit of made up language and all.  There is a nod to Russian history and culture, although I imagine purists of the field would be able to find holes here an there.  I choose to not get too wrapped up on that level, though, because the story was memorable on its own.

I could do without the bit of a love triangle, but am interested to see where it leads at the same time.  There is much potential to world Bardugo has created, with the right balance of darkness and light, and I am excited to read the next in the series, Siege and Storm, due out in June.


 Chosen as one of ABA’s Best New Voices 
Amazon Editors’ Top Ten Picks for Teen Summer Reading
Indie Next List Selection

For more info & to purchase:

Author Site

Barnes & Noble




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