Title: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: June 5th 2012 by Henry Holt and Company
This review is spoiler-free!
Wow, I know I am super late to the party but I finally got around to starting the Grisha series! (Also, I’ve wanted to read the Six of Crows duology so badly and while I know it’s not required to read the Grisha trilogy to understand SoC, I wanted to read it to be familiar with the whole Grisha universe)
Shadow and Bone is a high fantasy novel and the first book in the Grisha Trilogy written by Leigh Bardugo. It takes place in Ravka, a fictional place which is inspired by Russia (and not actually Russia!). The nation is separated
by the so-called Shadow Fold, a place of darkness in the middle of Ravka filled with creatures hungry for humans. Our main protagonist Alina Starkov and her regiment are on a mission through the Fold but things go wrong and in a moment of panic Alina reveals a “magical” power she didn’t know she had that saves her troop. Word gets out to the Darkling, leader of the Grisha, who takes her to the king’s court to help her control her power and possibly change the fate of the whole kingdom.
I thoroughly enjoyed Leigh Bardugo’s writing style. It’s very simple and flows nicely which makes it very easy to get through the book. In fact, I finished the whole thing in a day. (I probably would have managed to be done in one sitting but I had to take pauses for lunch and dinner breaks with my family. #Priorities)
One thing I do have to say though is that the beginning of the book could use some more detailed descriptions of the Grisha world. I was unsure what some of the newly introduced terms meant and how I should imagine the world. As you read on and things get brought into context you can obviously make the connection and identify the meaning but I would have liked a little more world building in the first few chapters.
Though I do have to say the plot and storyline had me hooked from the start. It is very fast-paced and has a lot of action and suspense which just makes you want to know more and more! A lot of events that happen are unpredictable and unexpected and some people may not be who they seem to be. There are some exciting plot twists which made me want to laugh and cry and scream!
I also loved the characters a lot, they were all very round and complex. The main protagonist is Alina who goes through a major character development. An insecure damsel in distress turned into a strong kickass boss ass bitch! Very inspiring. Her best friend Mal has been there for her since they were little kids but for him there has never been more to it than friendship, in contrast to Alina who’s had a crush on him for quite a while. I am a sucker for the best friends turned lovers trope so I kind of like the idea of the two of them together!
We also have the Darkling who is the leader of the Grisha. He is very intriguing because he is so mysterious and you don’t find out a lot about him at first. He is very good at seducing Alina and making her feel all tingly and warm 😉 I can’t make my mind up about him yet. I might like him but I might also despise him, we’ll see!
I really liked Baghra, too, she is a bitter old lady who hides in her little hut, avoiding people as much as she can and I could really relate to her on a very personal level lmao. I’d hide in my room all day and not talk to anyone for a week or so if I could! And she doesn’t take crap from anyone which is always a good character trait.
Genya is the queen’s personal servant but she also acts as Alina’s tailor and makes her look all pretty and dressed up. She has been a good friend to Alina; gossiping with her, making her laugh and making her feel like she belonged among the other Grisha and the unfamiliar environment of it all.
I’m very excited to read on and hopefully learn a lot more about the characters!
I truly enjoyed this book and I can’t wait to continue with the Grisha series!