2021 Book Review Book Reviews Fantasy

Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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


I finally decided to jump on the train and see what all the excitement was about over the Shadow and Bone series, and may I just say, the hype was worth it for the first book. Shadow and Bone was a novel with an amazing storyline and awesome characters that I truly loved. I have read the Six of Crows duology so I couldn’t help but notice that Leigh Bardugo did improve a lot in the area of developing characters when it came to Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows, but that did not taint how much I enjoyed this novel.

Since I did say the hype was worth it, you are probably wondering why I only gave this novel three stars when I sounded so enthusiastic about it. Don’t get me wrong, I am very enthusiastic about this novel, but I feel like the writing is not the best which is mainly why I gave it an average three stars. I see why this novel did so well and totally agree that it is a great novel, but it’s not something you read for the writing style, but mainly for the characters.


I love Alina so much, but feel like she really needs to pull herself together. She was all over the place and was a little too reliant on the assurance from others of her “worth”. She’s obviously still developing her true character and no doubt will face serious changes in the next book in this series, but as of right now, get your act together Alina.

*Minor spoilers in this paragraph*

Honestly, I don’t see why people don’t like Mal or just don’t want him to end up with Alina. He obviously cared about her and wanted what’s best for her. I might regret saying this in reading the next novel, but in Shadow and Bone, Mal seems way better for Alina than the Darkling.

The Darkling was a jerk. I don’t see any of the good qualities Alina saw in him in this novel. He honestly just seemed like he didn’t care about Alina when Alina was convinced he did care about her. This is both the Darkling and Alina’s fault. It’s the Darkling’s fault because he’s being a jerk and it’s Alina’s fault because she’s being blind.


In the end, I really enjoyed Shadow and Bone and can’t wait to read the other novels in this series. Although I felt like the writing could’ve been better, the storyline and seeing the characters interact were why this novel is so good. Hopefully the other novels are just as good, or better.

Cover Art:

This cover design is by Natalie C Sousa and Ellen Duda.

Let’s Talk:
  • Have you read Shadow and Bone or any other books from the Grishaverse?
  • Did you see the Shadow and Bone series on Netflix?
    • If so, did you like it?
    • Were there any noticeable differences you did or didn’t like?

One reply on “Shadow and Bone”

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