Book Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Book 1
Pages: 356
Related Words: magic, dark, army, grisha, evil, good
Rating: 4.5/5

shadow.jpgAlina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, she is sure of only one thing: her best friend, Mal– and her inconvenient crush on him. Until the day their army regiment enters the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. When their convoy is attacked and Mal is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power not even she knew existed. 

Ripped from everything she knows, Alina is taken to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical eliteled by the mysterious Darkline. With Alina’s extraordinary power in his arsenal, he believes they can finally destroy the Fold. Now Alina must find a way to master her untamed gift and somehow fit into her new life without Mal by her side. but nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. As the threat to the kingdom mounts and her dangerous attraction to the Darkling grows, Aline will uncover a secret that could tear her heart– and her country– in two. 

General Overview (Without Spoilers)

What can I say for this book? It completely played with my emotions and caught me off guard more than once. I didn’t know what I was expecting as I started this book. I was probably expecting something along the lines of, “I got this new power, and now I’m going to go to the palace and train, while an evil arises. Then I’m going to defeat this new evil.” I got that, but I also got much more. And I loved it!

I am completely in love with this series. The ending left me staring at the wall in front of me and it was definitely a good read that I needed. Anyone who loves fantasy should definitely give this book a try.

Full Review (*With Spoilers*)


We are first introduced to Alina, who is the main character of this series, and of course Mal, the typical hottie character that everyone likes. But as cliche as it sounded, Bardugo wrote it in a way where it actually wasn’t. It turns out though they have been friends since their childhood, they still have this distance between them that can’t be fixed. And I love this because it already showed the personality of the characters. This is especially shown when Alina showed her powers for the first time, which ended up dragging her to the palace, far away from Mal.

Then the plot from there on out, made me all giddy with everything that was going on. There wasn’t a dull moment and everything had it’s meaning. The Darkling (!) was introduced in the first few chapters, and I absolutely love him! He is such a complex character and had me completely fooled since the beginning! He acted like the nice guy, helping Alina, making promises that he would save the people from the Fold, but then it turns out he’s the bad guy?! I even have to admit, when Baghra told Aline about the Darkling’s plans, I didn’t even believe her; I was still having hope that the Darkling was good. This really showed how Bardugo really played with the reader’s feelings and how she wrote the characters of Alina and the Darkling so intricately that it ended up making such a plot twist.

And even after I was fooled, when you read back, you can see all the hints that Bardugo had placed to suggest that the Darkling had been evil. It was amazing character and plot development and it had me completely hooked.

Alina, on the other hand, was another character that I really liked. Many books these days have that girl character that is very bold and strong, very confident in themselves, which isn’t a bad thing, but enough to say that it’s getting kind of old. But Alina wasn’t that kind of girl– she was bland, she had doubts, fears, uncertainty, and she was naive. I feel that she accurately portrayed what most readers would have been like, instead of that amazing butt kicking character from other series. She’s relatable and that was what made me like her so much. 

Mal, though, I’m sorry to say, didn’t stand out to me like the other characters. He’s an amazing tracker– one that found an animal from a myth. He is a very sweet character and one that really cared for Alina. His character is well developed as well, but he wasn’t my favourite.



I give Shadow and Bone four and a half out of five stars! It was an amazing book to read and it gave me the worse feeling ever when it was over. I need to know what happened and I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves reading fantasy stories.

What did you think about Shadow and Bone? Did you like it? What was your favourite part? 


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