"To find out what a story's really about,' the Librarian said,

'you don't ask the writer. You ask the reader."

- SNOW & ROSE by Emily Winfield Martin

Monday, June 18, 2012

A "Nobel Beehive Award" Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy #1)
by Leigh Bardugo 
Release Date: June 5th, 2012
Format: ARC
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (Macmillan)
Genre: YA Fantasy and Sci-Fi

(from Goodreads) 

"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 have to admit right now that I am not a big fan of high fantasy books, my expectations of them are always too high - the world building and characters have to capture me within the first few pages - I need to be able to picture and feel everything as though I am sitting right next the characters...
Leigh Bardugo not only delivered but went over and beyond anything I could have ever expected with  Shadow and Bone!  
Her writing and storytelling had me mesmerized right from the start. There were moments that I found myself holding my breath and had to contain myself from skipping ahead! I could not put this book down and ended up reading it all in one night! 

I feel like no matter what I write right now, it won't do this book any justice... 

Alina is your average teen girl, really, she's just average. In a world that is ranked by power and beauty, Alina does not fit in anywhere. The only place she ever felt slightly normal was when she was with her childhood best friend, Mal. And now that they're of age and have been enlisted to do their jobs, they have been growing apart... until one day, their regiments are deployed to go through The Fold - a place that no one ever wants to go through - and they are attacked and Mal is seriously injured which causes Alina to unleash her unknown powers to stop it. A power that no on else possess. Which then leads to Alina joining the Royal Court, and must go through training to control her new power. She is thrust into an unknown world, one that she had never thought she would ever be a part of. Even with her power, she feels that she not good enough to be ranked with the beautiful Grisha. And I don't blame her! Everyone always thought of her as average, and she believed it. Wouldn't you have a hard time getting over your past as the 'ugly duckling' that nobody wanted? 

Mal... I have to say, in the beginning, I didn't like Mal very much. He started off like a typical teen boy, hanging out with his friends, showing off, doing what guys do. But once he was one-on-one with Alina, we finally got to see his true personality, and he shined. Yes, sounds typical, but in real life this is what people do - we sometimes act a bit differently depending who we are with, and most teens are known to do fall for this... and I forgive Mal. He truly lives up to everything you will expect of him, and more.

There is no denying that The Darkling is a stunning, quick witted and a mysterious guy. Which of course makes him completely irresistible. Even though I had a bad gut feeling about this guy, I fell for him. Hard. 
And he broke my heart... and no, I will never forgive him. 

The Fold. 
This is the place where nightmares are made. Seriously! I had a dream, errr, nightmare about it. The Fold is a stretch of land that has been voided. There is nothing there but complete darkness and for lack of a better word, death. This is where Bardugo's writing and world building just left me with my mouth hanging open, staring out into space, picturing and feeling exactly what it would feel like to be in that place... it gave me the shivers.

If you loved Katsa, Po and Leck from Graceling (by Kristin Cashore), you will also love Alina, Mal and The Darkling. Similar stories, for both are very well written high fantasy books. But so very different in everything else. Shadow and Bone is a must read book! 

Book 2 to the Grisha Trilogy is called Siege and Storm 
and is expected to be released in 2013.
Book 3, Ruin and Rising, is expected to be released in 2014.

In the meantime, there is a companion folk tale that was just released...
The Witch of Duva.
"There was a time when the woods near Duva ate girls… or so the story goes. But it’s just possible that the danger may be a little bit closer to home."

(from website)

Leigh Bardugo was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. She indulges her fondness for glamour, ghouls, and costuming in her other life as makeup artist L.B. Benson. She lives in Hollywood and can occasionally be heard singing with her band, Captain Automatic.Her debut novel, Shadow & Boneis the first book in the Grisha Trilogy and will be published by Holt Children’s/Macmillan in June 2012.


  1. Wott major love here!! Clearly, this book deserves every hype that is going on right now. I didn't want to read it, but the more reviews like yours I read the more excited I am about picking it up!

  2. I seriously need to get this book. I have heard nothing but awesome things about it. I don't typically read a lot of fantasy like this so I wasn't sure I wanted to read this one, but I think I really need to.

  3. The fold was one of my favorite parts too! I liked her idea of taking something that's usually symbolic in fantasy and making it literal. I loved this book as much as you did and I can't wait for the next one!

    Jessica @ Books: A true story


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