Book Review: Shadow and Bone

For once, I completely understand why everyone’s obsessed with this book.

Alina is a seemingly ordinary girl who serves in the nation’s first army as a mapmaker, adrift in a world torn by war, poverty and the Shadow Fold. When her regiment is tasked to cross the deadly Shadow Fold, a sea of land plagued by darkness and monsters, she discovers a power that could be the key to saving her world. She is whisked away from everything she knows to become a member of the Grisha, the magical beings who serve in the Second Army, and the mysterious Darkling. But she soon comes to find that true power comes at a cost, and that nobody can be trusted.

The Grishaverse has the most stunning world building I have come across in  the YA fantasy genre in quite some time. Although learning the designations/powers of the different Grisha was a little confusing at first, I quickly became immersed in the world. There was a great balance between description and plot that made the story fast-paced, while also letting readers really get involved in the beauty of the land. I especially loved Alina’s time spent in the Little Palace and all of the little intricacies that were included there. The world is just totally unlike anything I have read before. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy fantasy set in Faerie and other familiar magical lands, but I really liked how original this book felt. 

There were also some truly great characters. Alina starts off as naive and shy, but I can already see the beginnings of her growth/arc, and I’m so excited to se where that goes. Seeing her relationship with Mal play out was really fun, and I’m glad there wasn’t any insta-love (I’m sorry, but I’m a bit sick of the trope at this point). By far my favorite character though was Genya. What’s not to love? She’s strong, fierce, and adds some great drama with the other Grisha girls. And then, of course, The Darkling. I don’t usually swoon over fictional characters, but there was something really, really magnetic about him. Bardugo did a great job of making me feel the same magical pull that Alina describes throughout the book. 

I did get a little bored about two thirds of the way through when the setting switches, but I also think that it was a necessary evil for where the plot ended up. Because the rest of the book was so fast, it didn’t really bother me. And wow, that plot twist! Maybe I’m losing my touch, but I really didn’t see the first big one coming. The others were a little predictable, but getting one good twist is pretty good in my opinion. 

I’m really glad I decided to read this when I did, because it has restored some of my faith in the fantasy genre after my last read. I highly recommend checking this one out, and will keep you guys posted on the rest of the series!

Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ 4/5

Intended audience: Young Adult 

Content warnings: mentions of sexual assault 

Happy reading!

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37 thoughts on “Book Review: Shadow and Bone

  1. I’m glad you liked it! When I read it, I wasn’t the biggest fan. I think I was just expecting more, but maybe I’ll give it another chance.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aww, I think part of what made me like it was that I had no clue what it was about going in, so everything was a surprise. I didn’t even read the blurb, I just knew booktwt loved it. I hope you liked/will like the rest of the series more!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ohh yeah that’s fair! I went into it thinking it was going to be my new favorite, and have a lot of Russian inspiration.


  2. I’ve had this on my TBR list for so long and I’m always afraid to pick it up because I don’t want to be disappointed after how hyped it’s been. I’m glad you enjoyed it! Your review has given me a little more confidence to pick this one up soon…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay! I consider myself pretty picky, especially with fantasy because after a while it all seems the same. Although this one still had the “girl plucked from normalcy to be the most powerful person” trope I thought it did it well. And the world itself is worth reading about!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I LOVED this series! The last book is so good too. I absolutely love the Russian themes to it, I felt it was a really unique background to the story. I haven’t read Six of Crows yet, however I did finally get a copy from the library.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    I’m not the biggest fan of the Grisha trilogy, but I can see why you and so many people liked it.

    However, I loved Six of Crows! I hope you enjoy the rest of the Grishaverse as much as this one.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Glad you enjoyed it. I didn’t think much of Shadow and Bone to be honest (have a review on my blog about it too). I mostly just read it as an introduction to the world and Bardugo’s style as what I really want to get to is Six of Crows.

    Liked by 1 person

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