Book Review: Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Publication date: 06/05/2012Shadow and Bone


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.


This week Siege and Storm, the sequel to Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone, is released into the wild. I could not, in good conscience, allow Shadow and Bone to remain unmentioned in this site. Since this is an important week for fans of the book, I decided now is a good time to write my review. I would like to start by saying that Shadow and Bone is one of those books that just blows you away (figuratively, not literally, so don’t worry). It is exciting, original, and well-written. In fact, I will venture to say it is one of the best books in the young adult genre. It certainly is one of my favorites.

Bardugo does an excellent job of bringing readers into the world she has created. She fills up her story with a believable, complex, and compelling cast of characters. Her original story gradually builds events that lead to the revelations readers eagerly await. Everything comes together swiftly and powerfully. The plot and romance are perfectly balanced, you know, in that there is more plot than romance. Personally, I am a fan of good-writing and action, and I hate it when a poorly woven love story overwhelms the plot. Give me plot or give me death is my motto—by death I mean something a great deal less drastic; I’m just a hyperbole enthusiast. Fortunately, Bardugo does not allow the romance to overshadow the story. It develops naturally and meaningfully. I anticipate that the sequel will feature the romance more prominently, which based on the ending of the first novel, it should. More romance in the second novel is a natural and necessary development for the story.

All in all, Shadow and Bone is a wonderfully crafted gem of a novel. The ending is filled with suspense and beauty. Once you decide to read this book, prepare yourself. You will be unwilling to put it down. Those of you who haven’t read it have the added benefit of not having to wait for the second novel. Some of us—I will not name names—have been agonizing for a year.

About Leigh Bardugo, courtesy of

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Photo by Kevin Rolly

Leigh Bardugo was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. These days, she lives in Hollywood, where she indulges her fondness for glamour, ghouls, and costuming in her other life as makeup artist L.B. Benson. Occasionally, she can be heard singing with her band, Captain Automatic.

Her debut novel, Shadow & Bone (Holt Children’s/ Macmillan), is a New York Times Best Seller and the first book in the Grisha Trilogy. Book 2, Siege and Storm, will be published in 2013. She is represented by Joanna Stampfel-Volpe of New Leaf.

Buy Now:
Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo at Indiebound Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo at Amazon Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo at Barnes & Noble Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo at iTunes
Buy Now:
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo at Indiebound Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo at Amazon Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo at Barnes & Noble Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo at iTunes

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