[review] Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

ARC provided by the wonderful Angel from Mermaid Visions.

Orphan Alina Starkov has grown up in a country torn apart by war. Literally. Over a hundred years ago the Shadow Fold was created by a dark Grisha, slashing the country in half. It is a place of danger and darkness where monsters feast on any who dare to pass. Now a cartographer’s apprentice, Alina is to cross the Shadow Fold with a company of soldiers, including her childhood friend and fellow orphan. In the darkness Alina will discover a truth she’s kept hidden from herself, which will lead to a meeting with the Darkling: the mysterious and magnetic great-grandson of the man who created the Shadow Fold in the first place.

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy, #1)This book wasn’t even on my radar until Angel lent it to me and I am so grateful that she did because this book is AMAZING. Well-drawn settings, I-feel-like-I-know-them-for-real characters, plot twists, stomach fluttering scenes, this book has ALL THE THINGS.

World building is huge in fantasy, and Berdugo pulls it off without seeming to break a sweat. Whether it’s the world of the soldiers or of the Grisha or of an ordinary orphan, Ravka feels like a real place. Adding to this is the use of a different language (I’m not sure if it’s words created by Bardugo or, like, Russian or something). Generally, I enjoy this kind of thing and it’s pretty essential to world building, but in Shadow and Bone the unusual words were frequent and kind of off-putting. If I had one complaint, it would be that because I could never remember what the different words meant.

It’s hard to say whether this is a character or a plot driven book because they are both done so well. At the beginning I had my doubts because it seemed some of the characters would fall into stereotypes, but this quickly passed as my expectations were torn apart before my unbelieving eyes. Linked with this, a twist I almost saw coming for a moment but didn’t pay much attention to because I figured there was no way it could be true (nor did I want it to be true) destroyed me. It was like Bardugo ripped my heart out of chest, set it on fire, shoved it back in, and then punched me in the face. It was awesome.

Of course I can’t wait for the sequel, but it’s a good kind of anticipation because there was a feeling of a semi-conclusion. Not exactly a cliff-hanger (a trend that I’m really starting to hate), but a feeling that the second book will be just as great and I want the story to continue.

Books with similar aspects

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Fire by Kristin Cashore

Sandry’s Book by Tamora Pierce

recommended to YA fantasy fans and those who like a good twist

not recommended to those who prefer their hearts remain intact

Don’t just take my word for it!

“A WIN for the fantasy genre. Both unique and compelling, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo should find a happy home on many bookshelves.”- Jen @ Almost Grown-Up

“Shadow and Bone is one of those books that you need to read to restore your faith in YA.” – Katya

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About megtao

Student. Writer. Nerdfighter. Fights for love, justice, and awesome.
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17 Responses to [review] Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

  1. Candice says:

    I want to read this so badly! I love when books rip my heart out of my chest, set it on fire, and then shove it back in!

  2. This book has been coming up on my radar a lot lately and I admit, I’m curious to see what people think of it. This is the first review I’ve really read about the book and it sounds like a promising read! I am on a fantasy kick right now so I might have to pick this one up and have a go at it 🙂
    Thanks for the awesome review, cheers!

  3. Kristel says:

    I like good twists! I think I’ll get this book if/when I find it. 🙂

  4. Alwyn says:

    I’m absolutely DYING to read this. DYING. Ordered my copy with the shiny map from Books of Wonder and will be patiently stalking my mailbox until it arrives.

  5. I read your review of Shadow and Bone on my lunch break yesterday, and then searched all over the bookstore (a typically well-stocked one) and couldn’t find it! 😦

    Shadow and Bone has been getting such rave reviews that I’m getting a feeling I’ll want it in hardback, but I’m tempted to just download it on my kindle… What to do?!?!

    Thanks for getting me all excited 😛

    Oh, and I scheduled a feminist post to come out in two weeks (hint: Brave) and I totally thought of you while I was writing it.

    Lauren @ Hughes Reviews

    • megtao says:

      I’m so sad that you couldn’t find it 😦 maybe it’s being released later where you live? I hope you’re able to find it soon!

      And aww that makes me so happy! I look forward to reading it!

  6. I feel like I should make up a special dance for whenever there’s a new fantasy title that keeps getting rave reviews. I love fantasy and this seems to be the year for it. Can’t wait for my copy of SHadow and Bone to arrive! Glad you liked it.

    • megtao says:

      I hope fantasy takes over the dystopian trend. Not that I don’t like dystopian, but fantasy was the first literary genre I really got into, so it has a special place in my heart.

  7. I CAN’T WAIT to read this one. It’s lingering on my kindle, but not for too much longer. Ever since I saw the BADASS map for this book, I’ve been like, “this book has my name written all over it.” I’m generally a big fan of Russian-inspired things, so I’m psyched to hear that this seems to have some touches of it. And I hear that the Darkling is mysterious and fantastic, too. I’m encouraged by your, “she ripped my heart out of my chest, tore it to shreds and then punched me in the face” business. Sounds brutal, but amazing. 🙂

  8. Yo, I am like a big fan when books have ALL OF THE THINGS! Seriouslyyyyy I need to read Shadow And Bone this week. AND TO SEE THAT THE WORLDBUILDING DOESN’T SUCK? Yes, count me among the excited for this book.

  9. Pingback: Shadow And Bone Leigh Bardugo Book Review

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