2013 Reads: Twenty-Six {Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo}

Monday, August 12, 2013

I am SO in LOVE with this book.



Alina is an orphan who was taken under the protection of a Duke alongside her friend and fellow orphan, Mal. Together they grew up and went into service in the King's Army - Alina as a cartographer and Mal as a tracker.

Unfortunately for them, their units were sent to cross the Shadow Fold - a streak of complete and impenetrable darkness that divides their land of Ravka. The Shadow Fold is filled with monsters that feed on human flesh and other unknown horrors. And worse - it's spreading and threatening to take over Ravka.

Until one day when Alina awakens a secret that had laid dormant within her since her childhood and she is swept away from everything she has ever known. She is taken to the kingdom's center where she becomes a Grisha and is welcomed into the lavish and exquisite lifestyle they lead. The Darkling, the most powerful of the Grisha, believes that Alina's destiny is in service to Ravka and that he should be the one to help her unlock her gift.

But what about Mal? Alone and uncertain of her gift in this new and foreign world Alina is tied by thoughts of her past life and her best friend. Who was she? And who is she to become?

Could Alina be the key Ravka needs to destroy the Shadow Fold forever?


I loved this book.

Yes, I am a sucker for a strong female lead. Yes, I am a sucker for the lead who discovers something insane and incredibly important about themselves (bonus points if that character is also an orphan - because it's not too cliched yet). Yes, I am a sucker for a battle of good versus evil. Yes, I am a sucker for a healthy dash of romance mixed into that heap of awesomeness (bonus points if an awkward love triangle is left out of the equation - because that is cliched at this point).

So, yes, this book was predestined to be one that I would love wholly and completely.

But, what else made this book so awesome to me?

It surprised me a few times. Like, really surprised me. I thought I had it figured out about half-way through. And then? BAM! I realized I did not have a clue about what was going to happen. That? That's something that I don't feel happens to me a lot with books these days. Or at least not on the magnitude of how this book hit me with a few of its twists. (Let's also be honest here, I have been pretty darn stressed out the past month or so, so maybe that played into it some? Who knows. It could have been my brain on stress, but I really would rather think that it's a really, really well done job on the author's part.) So, bravo on that Ms. Bardugo. Bravo.

I really did love Alina. She didn't react like a lot of the characters who are put in a similar situation. A lot of our hero/ines start off as the humble nobody, are confronted with their true identity, and within a little bit of passing time are all okay, I got this, good's totally gonna takeover evil. Which? Totally not how I think a normal humble nobody would handle that type of situation. And Alina? Alina's reaction feels so much more real to me. She's nope! you've got the wrong girl! this totally can't be me! sorry, try again elsewhere! And she's like that for days on end. It takes her a long time to accept who she is - and even when she's accepted it on one level? There are so many other levels and pieces of her that still doubt. And that's how I think a real person would react. Or, at least, how I would react.

Her relationship with the Darkling is masterfully crafted. I love that you cannot read that man well at all throughout the whole book. His character is so well written that you see him exactly as Alina sees him. He is broody and twisty but also so human and flawed. He is such an intriguing and powerful character.

And thank God for no love triangle. Yes, she loves more than one man over the course of the book. But they're not best friends. Or even slight acquaintances. Or have even really looked each other in the eye. How refreshing it is to have a female character not caught between love, friendship, and the destruction of a friendship (or two)! Sure, love triangles seem to sell these days, but not every book needs one!

Oh, and Mel? LOVE HIM. 

I could write and write and write on everything I loved about this book, but then I'd ruin it for you. And I'd be mortified if I did that to anyone (I hate when someone ruins a book for me). So, I'll end this review here:

This book rocked my literary world for a few days. I had a serious book hangover after turning the final page. I wanted more of it. I needed more of it. I broke my Courtney-doesn't-need-to-buy-more-books and went out and bought it the day I finished Shadow and Bone (and still haven't started it yet - you guys! The next one doesn't come out for ages! And we all know what that means for me and reading the last book currently out in a series...). It took me days to pick up my next book.

Yes. It's that good.

Do yourself a favor and read this one. I promise you won't regret the decision.


Title: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic
Medium: Hardback, 356pp
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co (5 June 2012)
Date Read: 2 August 2013
Source: Purchased, Barnes & Nobel
Recommended For: Middle School +, YA Lovers, Fantasy Lovers, Russian Fiction Lovers
Challenges: Goodreads

First Line: The servants called them malenchki, little ghosts, because they were the smallest and the youngest, and because they haunted the Duke's house like giggling phantoms, darting in and out of rooms, hiding in cupboards to eavesdrop, sneaking into the kitchen to steal the last of the summer peaches. 
Favorite Line: And there's nothing wrong with being a lizard either. Unless you were born to be a hawk. 
Last Line: They are orphans again, with no true home but each other and whatever life they can make together on the other side of the sea. [whited out, for spoiler's sake]


  1. I absolutely loved this book too!!!! I read it quite a while though so I think I'll have to reread it before I read Seige and Storm. I'm so conflicted about my feelings towards the Darkling! I love Mel but I've got a weakness for the "broody and twisted" type haha I guess I unintentionally created myself a love triange :( *sigh* I'm not a fan of them either haha great review!

  2. You've got me so excited to start reading this book! I'm reading Dash & Lily's Book of Dares right now, but Shadow and Bone is next on my list. Great review :)


Thank you all so much for your comments! I'm only happy when I have comments. Really. You are contributing to my future happiness right now! XOXO