Review | Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Published: June 5th, 2012

Read as: Library loan

Average Goodreads rating: 4.03

My rating: 5

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The thought filled me with grief, grief for the dreams we’d shared, for the love I’d felt, for the hopeful girl I would never be again.

Alright folks, you got me. Nearly every blog I browsed, review I read, and social media post I paused on told me to get on board with the Grisha verse. “No,” I would say. “No, I didn’t like Six of Crows. I didn’t like it so much that I don’t want to read more of Bardugo’s books and you can’t convince me otherwise.”

Oh, how silly I was. How naive. How utterly stubborn. Because you know what?

Shadow and Bone is absolutely amazing and I should have listened to you ages ago.

I haven’t enjoyed a book this much in months. I allot myself only so much time a day to do nothing but read and it hurt every time I had to put this book down and go take care of those pesky responsibilities. It was so easy to get caught up in this world, in these characters, and be swept away.

Alina, our first person narrator, is one of the most real characters I have ever come across. I was constantly impressed by her and engaged in her story, her struggles, and her triumphs. The most impressive things about Alina? Her willingness to learn, change, and make decisions with her head and not her hormones.

YA characters are typically in their teens when hormones are wildly raging so the expectation in there for them to make decisions based on those impulses. Alina does and who can blame her? The Darkling is Hot Stuff even to my rickety soul. But what I love is that when push comes to shove Alina makes a huge, world altering decision based on reasoning instead of those lust filled hormones. She shows growth as a character and I adore her.

Speaking of adore, can we talk about the Darkling for just a second here? I mentioned above that I chosen to not read this series, so what changed my mind? Well, unless you’ve been living in a cave you may have seen that this book is being made for television and the main casting lineup is in. I had no intention of watching it but was happy for those who were excited for it. So what changed my mind?

Folks, Ben Barnes was cast as the Darkling and that sealed my fate. Everything I have seen him in he has played a morally grey character in, if you don’t mind me saying so, the most alluring way possible. So, of course I now wanted to watch him play this Darkling that people talked about so much. Before I could do that, I needed to read the books, so here we are.

I have three pages of notes I took while reading this book but I think you all may get my point so I don’t feel the need to hash them all out here. I love this book. Adore it. We have a fascinating setting, end of the world dramatic situations, a magic system I am enthralled with, and some of the best characters I have ever seen put to page. This has become one of my new favorites and I hope the rest of the trilogy lives up to expectations.

Find this book on

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11 thoughts on “Review | Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo

    1. That bar is really high, isn’t it? It may have helped that I had very low expectations since I disliked Six of Crows. But, I think at its heart it is still a very good YA fantasy with some very well written characters. It is also a pretty fast read if that helps to influence you at all. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I actually have the opposite feelings! I love Six of Crows way more than Bardugo’s first Grishaverse series. Mostly because I absolutely hate Alina and Mal! They really ruined the series for me. Each progressive book got worse in my opinion, but I know I’m in the minority, here. I also don’t know why the Darkling is so loved by this fandom. I guess because he’s a bad boy? I never felt any pull towards him, I guess another reason why I don’t really care for the series. Great review!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree that Mal can go suck eggs. He is dull and borderline useless and has far too big a role in the second book. His presence makes Alina less instead of more and that just drives me crazy.

      I can understand not being on board with the Darkling. He is a very “love him or hate him” kind of character, no in between.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s funny. It seems like people tend to really like either Six of Crows OR Shadow and Bone, but rarely both or neither! Personally I’m more of a Six of Crows girl, but Shadow and Bone was a strong series opener. I will say, by the end I was not really a fan (as others have said, Mal is soggy white bread and can go step on a Lego for all I care, and the ending annoyed me), but the side characters in the series made it worthwhile for me. Can’t wait for you to get further in the series so you can meet Nikolai!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I cannot agree with that assessment of Mal enough! He really is soggy white bread and I can’t stand him. He just drags Alina down at every opportunity. Bah!

      And I’m currently reading Siege and Storm and just met Nikolai. To say the least, I did NOT see that coming! Sneaky man, I like him already.

      Liked by 1 person

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