Friday, April 25, 2014

Book Review: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1)

Release Date: June 5, 2012
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Length: 358 pages

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.



Protagonist: Alina has lived her life thus far as an orphan, someone that society has looked down upon. However, seemingly overnight Alina discovers that she's Grisha, someone who can learn and control the Small Sciences. She's also a Sun Summoner, someone who can create light and save Ravka from the terror of the Shadow Fold. At first she doubts her Grisha power, thinking that it's a joke or some kind of fluke, but then when she does accept it, she really begins to grow. I really love Alina, she was realistic, and while on this second read I thought she was a bit gullible, that's only because I knew what was going to happen. Honestly, she's a great character and I can't wait to see what's coming for her in book 2.

Romance: LOVE TRIANGLE!!! So, now that that's out there let's discuss. Now I can't say too much without giving away spoilers but I'll try to stay as vague as possible. At the beginning of the book I wasn't a huge fan of Mal, it wasn't that there was anything wrong with him it was just that Alina's crush seemed a bit one-sided. The Darkling however, I really liked at least, at first. He was charismatic, charming, and he seemed to really care for Alina. However things happened, lines were crossed and somehow I found myself rooting for Mal, even though his sudden feelings for Alina may have come up too fast. The thing is, knowing what I know from this book I'm baffled that people are still rooting for the Darkling, which makes me wonder if he does something redeeming in the second installment.

World-Building: I love how authors can take real countries and adapt their culture and history and adapt it into a fictional fantasy realm. I've seen this done many times and I have yet to find one that flops. Granted I have no idea how accurate many of these worlds are, but I trust that these authors have put a great deal of research and depth into them, and if there's something wrong, well hey it's a fantasy world. This one, based of Russia, brings amazing elements like the Grisha, who do not work in magic, but apparently a type of science that only they can perform, and then there's the Darkling, just one in a long line of Darklings, who is sort of a ruler of Grisha. With amazing depth and imagination this is one of the best built worlds I've ever read about.

Predictability: So I have to say that while I did read this book a second time in order to write this review, I will say that the first time I read it I was extremely caught off guard by many things in this book. Though when I first read it I did get upset about one of the twists, and it kind of tainted my view on the entire book just a smidge. It wasn't that the twist was easily predictable, if fact it's probably the one that threw me off the most, but it was that it was just something that I didn't like happening in the story and so when I read it this second time I looked at it a bit more objectively and really appreciated it.

Ending: Now, the ending is great because it really mirrors the prologue of the book, both in style and showing how far Alina has come. The end sets up really where the next book will lead and that's probably what I'm most interested in seeing is where this next book will take place and what may happen.


When I first read this book I was considering a 4.5 star rating because while I deeply enjoyed it there were a few things that bugged me, one being the intense amount of hype this book series got. I mean, of course it's amazing, but the level of hype just didn't fit for me. This second time through however I got the appreciate the things I missed my first time through and I have to say that I really do love this book, wholeheartedly.


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