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

Name: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1)
Leigh Bardugo
Number of Pages:
358 pages in Hardcover
June 5th 2012
by Henry Holt and Co.
Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Paranormal


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.


ThoughtsThis is my feature for the month of February for the Random Reads meme and I’m so happy that I’ve got to choose to read this. Like what I’ve told friends, I can’t believe I’ve set this book aside for so long. If not for the Random Reads meme, this book will still be sitting in my shelf untouched and I would probably regret it. I loved the book in general, but I must admit I’ve had certain issues.

The writing is super. I didn’t realize that I’ve finished the book in one sitting. That’s how engaging Leigh’s writing was. It got me really thrilled and charmed that I can’t afford to put it down. I can’t remember a part that has been dull. Such brilliance in 358 pages. The world building is fascinating. I can only imagine how magical Ravka is having people with enchanted abilities despite the fact that they’re in war. Yeah. The book can also be classified on the dystopian genre since the setting was presented after Ravka was torn in two by the Shadow Fold which was created by the Dark Heretic hundreds of years ago. Here’s a map of the World of Grisha illustrated by Keith Thompson:

World of Grisha

There were magical creatures and a bunch of people from an elite group who has extraordinary abilities, the Grisha, who serves as no more than slaves for the Kingdom. Aside from the Ravkans, there were the Shu Hans who wants to have the Grisha for their experiments seeking the source of their powers and the Fjerdans who burns them as witches. Fascinating so far? 🙂 The plot was enthralling that I can’t help turning pages after pages. This is a story about a girl named Alina who grew up in an orphanage with a friend, Mal, who’s been by her side since the beginning. Alina is working as a mapmaker while Mal is a tracker. She didn’t have a clue of the power she’s holding down in her until she was forced to use it on a dangerous situation concerning Mal. That’s where everything went downhill. She was discovered and trained to be one of the Grisha in the Palace knowing that it is for the greater good as the Darkling told her. Apparently, she’s the Sun Summoner that they’ve been waiting for to destroy The Fold that’s separating Ravka from the rest of the nation. Little did she know that the Darkling has his own plans. Well, basically I love everything about how the plot was written. It never fails to give me something to be thrilled for. Though there were unusual terms being thrown here and there, I didn’t feel overwhelm about the whole thing. Well written if I may say. The twist truly blew me away. It was so unpredictable. Remarkable. Really. Especially the turning point. The suspense left me on the edge of my seat and the twist astounded me. Amazing is an understatement.

The only thing that bothered me was when Alina did fall a “little” with the Darkling. I think that’s pretty stupid and annoying. Alina actually felt that they have this something going on when she’s obviously being used. And to think that she’s also in love with Mal. Say what? Sigh. Moving on..

All the characters were note-worthy. They’re amazing. Alina is not your usual protagonist that’s perfect in every bit of the word. She’s scrawny, clumsy and has dull brown hair. Pale and always looking like she’s sick. Nothing really remarkable about her until they’ve discovered that she’s the Sun Summoner. That’s the only thing that separates her from the rest and she didn’t like the idea. Alina wants to stay who she is regardless the situation. Though I felt that she had become a power hungry freak on the latter part, I can’t take it against her. For someone who’s been set aside from the beginning because she’s useless? I think that’s something I would just give her. Lol! I must admit that she annoyed me in some parts ’cause she’s naive and half-witted, but those were just “parts”. She has her moments. Okay. I loved her mostly. I didn’t get to know Mal entirely since they’re separated and only brought together on the last couple of chapters. I just know that he’s somehow Mr. Perfect. A guy that would make every girl spare a second glance or perhaps third and fourth glance. If you know what I meant. An awesome tracker and can adapt at anything. Perfect huh? I hope to read more about him on the sequel though. The Darkling on the other hand is manipulative and a liar that can convince an ant that salt is sweet. I hate him. Period. There were so many interesting characters other than them that a reader would definitely love to read more about so read the book. Okay? Hihi 😀

RecommendationI’m so recommending this for high fantasy seekers.
Shadow and Bone is an action-packed, magical and an awesome book in general.
It has all the elements a fantasy book should have.
I loved every page of it. 🙂

RatingI say it’s a four. Though I loved it,
there’s something about the book that I can’t give it a five.
Can’t quite put my finger on it.

4 Stars


2 thoughts on “Book Review: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1)

  1. Glad you enjoyed this one. I love this series! The second book became a five from the intro of Sturmhond. He’s probably my favorite from that series or ties with Alina. The final book is crazy good. Some people weren’t happy with it, but it felt true to the characters and story. I can’t wait for her next book!

    • First book was amazing. I’m not so sure about Siege and Storm though. I’ll post my review later today or tomorrow. I’m currently reading Ruin and Rising. Wait? There’s another book after Ruin and Rising?

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