Book Review: Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Hello Book Friends!

Back with another review after being dormant for so long. This time I thought I’d jump onto the Shadow & Bone / Grishaverse fan train now that Netflix has released the show. I bought all the Grishaverse books but for some reason never picked them. I’m not quite sure why I was so hesitant other than I’m just a mood reader and maybe it just never was the right time. Well I finished the first book in the Shadow & Bone trilogy this weekend and I thought I’d share my thoughts! Read below for what I’m thinking and feeling about this first book! 🙂

Book Review: Shadow & Bone by Leigh BardugoShadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Shadow and Bone #1
Published by Macmillan on 5 June 2012
Genres: YA Fantasy
Pages: 358
Format: Paperback
Source: Owned Book
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The Grishaverse will be coming to Netflix soon with Shadow and Bone, an original series! Enter the Grishaverse with Book One of the Shadow and Bone Trilogy by the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom.

Soldier. Summoner. Saint.
Orphaned and expendable, Alina Starkov is a soldier who knows she may not survive her first trek across the Shadow Fold—a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. But when her regiment is attacked, Alina unleashes dormant magic not even she knew she possessed.

Now Alina will enter a lavish world of royalty and intrigue as she trains with the Grisha, her country’s magical military elite—and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes Alina can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war-ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift.

As the threat to the kingdom mounts and Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she loves and the very future of a nation.

Welcome to Ravka . . . a world of science and superstition where nothing is what it seems.

my review

WHY? Why did I wait so long on this book? Who knows really, but I do know that I’m glad I finally picked it up!

I had so much fun jumping into the Grishaverse! It was full of magic and hints of a Russian inspiration which I always love seeing in a novel. Bardugo did such a good job of building up the Grishaverse that I have a feeling it’s only going to get better the more I read books within this world.

I haven’t read a fantasy novel, let alone a YA novel, in so long that the genre felt fresh & exciting again! I always fall for the “young girl discovering her true powers” trope every time! So it was fun watching Alina as she first discovers her power, how that changes her world and then how she learns to use and grow her power. I’m a huge fan of elemental magic and I thought Bardugo did a great job of mixing in this type of magic with others as well as a bit of science/alchemy in her explanation on how the magic in this world worked. I also loved what Alina’s Grisha powers were and think it really fit her personality.

With all this said, I did kind of not fully love everything about the book. Don’t hate me! I just felt like this whole “one girl discovers powers & is destined to save the world” plot line has been written SO MUCH these past few years. I think if I had read this back when it was actually published I’d be a diehard fan right now. But, I just felt like I could predict things pretty quickly, down to the moment she’d end up using her power to the big “saving the world” problem she comes across (aka the twist).

I also wasn’t totally in love with the characters. I guess I’ve been reading too much enemies-to-lovers romance novels and so the love interest in this book just was sub-par to me. I’m sure I’ll fall in love with Alina and this plot line more in the second book as we’ll get to see more of these two characters together.

I WILL say that scene with the stag – GAH – favorite moment of the whole novel hands down. Anyway…

even though I wasn’t “surprised” during the whole novel & wasn’t the biggest fan of the characters, I did still really enjoy it! I had so much fun in the Grishaverse and definitely want to spend more time in the world. I’m definitely picking up book two to read & hopefully binge all the books in the Grishaverse before bingeing the Netflix show!

Let me know your thoughts below!

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Hello! NicoleLynn here! I’m a twenty-something avid reader & lover of all things bookish! I enjoy both coffee & tea, a good slice of pie and cuddling with my kitty. I haunt libraries, cafés & bookstores 🙂 Then I write about all these things! ♥

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