Shadow and Bone is the first installment of the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. This review will contain SPOILERS! However, they are all small ones.
Alina Starkov is just another soldier in the Ravka army. That is until she uses a power she didn’t know she had to save herself and those surrounding her in the Shadow Fold—where monsters dwell in darkness and no light can penetrate. Now she is being forced to train with the Grish. The Darkling—a mysterious and dangerous man—is convinced that Alina is the key to destroying the Shadow Fold and bringing their county together again.
When science and magic combine, nothing is what it seems. Only Alina can discover the secrets that have been lurking in the darkness and face the threat to the kingdom. Will she be able to find the answers she needs or will she be too late to save those she loves?
This book was a little confusing when I first started reading it. We jumped straight into the middle of a scene and it took me a moment t to get my barrings. I had heard quite a bit about this series and was immediately disappointed by what I was reading. The only reason I did not put this book down and walk away was because it had been recommended to me and I wanted to know why people loved it so much.
Bardugo steadily built the world and introduced new characters, keeping me engaged. I was about halfway through the book before I realized that I no longer dreading reading it. I had gotten sucked into the story and I became invested in the story and its characters. Alina. Mal. Genya. The Darkling. The characters were so distinct and realistic. No one was perfect. No one always did the right thing.
Alina. I cannot stand Alina. I found her very annoying in the first book, but more than anything else, I just wanted to know why she was acting the way she was. She wanted everyone to feel sorry for her, but I didn’t. Mal. I hated Mal. He got on every single one of my nerves throughout the book. As I continued to read, I got butterflies and started to fall for the Darkling! I wanted to know more about him from the moment I met him.
Ravka was an interesting country that had very little rights for its people. The chain of events that occurred over the course of the book continuously took me by surprise. I still cannot understand how the Grisha were not in power. They were the ones using the “small science”, but more on that later.
When I finished the book, I was left wanting more. I read somewhere that the last chapter of a book is supposed to sell the next one. Well, Bardugo definitely succeeded in that aspect. I immediately, and I do mean immediately, downloaded the next book to my kindle and started to read it.
I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars. It was a little dry for my taste, but it did eventually pick up and it left me wanting more. It did a very good job of building an interesting world and diverse characters.
Great Review. I picked up the trilogy after reading Six of Crows. Six of Crows is spectacular in a way the trilogy doesn’t match. Like you, I found it hard to get into. Bardugo tells the story beautiful but it drags at times. There is a long span of gossipy lag in the first book and the whole chapel story in book three is tedious. Alina and Mal are unlikable. I don’t even like the Darkling. Well, I think he is a great villain, but as a person, I can’t stand him. Pretty much the only ones I liked were Nik and Genya. I’d have loved to see some things from her POV. All that said, I ended up enjoying the trilogy. I didn’t care for the characters, had problems with the ending, and found parts of it boring. I should dislike it, but Bardugo did a wonderful job of telling an average story.
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