2021 · books · fantasy · ya

Book Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1)

Author: Leigh Bardugo


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.


Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

This is such a well-known and hyped book that while thinking of what to write about it, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d get hate for it. But, since I don’t really care about that, because after all, this is only a book and we all have different opinions about different things so I will be as honest as I always am and say I was sooo disappointed by this book.

This starts out as our usual YA fantasy with a plain main character who suddenly realizes she holds special power and her life changes and it was surprisingly not different than thousands of other YA fantasies, but towards the end however… it was still super boring and I was mad!!

The reason for that may be because it was written in 2012 and since I’m reading it 9 years after it’s publication, I can’t help but notice the similarities between this book and many other YAs I’ve read (e.g. Divergent, Red Queen, The Selection etc). I don’t know who copied who and it is not my place to research that, however, you can’t help but see the similarities. A poor girl who suddenly displays power she never knew she had + love triangle between a girl two boys who are almost exactly the same, only one as dark hair and is a bit hotter + plot twist that was unexpected but you could totally expect it because it happens in literally every YA. Change a few things and you ave a YA novel.

Honestly I was so underwhelmed by this book because it was so freaking plain. I couldn’t help but wonder why it is so popular when it’s one of the most vanilla books I came upon. All the characters are sooo boring, especially Alina. I see many people are into Darling, but honestly, except for being hot, he’s nothing special. And Mal was only created for the purpose of love triangle.

The most interesting thing were the stories about saints and I saw there was a separate book about their lives which I’m interested in (mostly because I like the idea of a book inside the book, and not because I’m interested in this book series).

I couldn’t wait for this book to end because I had zero interest and I couldn’t connect myself to the story. This might be a sin for me to stop reading YA, I might be too old for it. I can see myself liking this when I was 14, but as a 21 y/o who can’t tolerate boring stories wit no special qualities.

I’m really sad this was the first book written by Leigh Bardugo that I’ve read because she’s a very well known and liked author. I will pick up Six of Crows and I pray to God that that one is at least a bit better.

Stay tuned for that!

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25 thoughts on “Book Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

  1. I feel like if you didn’t like this one, you’d not like ‘Six of Crows’ because they are sort of in the same vein where they are thoroughly YA even though the latter is comprised of adult-ish people.

    That was my experience though. Didn’t like either.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Six of Crows is so much better I promise. I still have a lot of sentiment for Shadow & Bone, but I recognise its faults, it’s worth noting that it was Leigh’s debut and her writing has changed so much since then. I can only imagine how much better it would’ve been if she’d written it now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review! I have heard similar things about Shadow and Bone. Everyone that I have talked to, for the most part, has said that Six of Crows is way better than Shadow and Bone. I haven’t read it yet so I can’t speak to that but I really did enjoy Six of Crows.

    This may be a stupid question, but does Shadow and Bone have Kaz, Inej, Nina and Jesper in it? I was looking at the Netflix production and saw that they are in the show. I haven’t read the book but I was under the assumption that they weren’t in Shadow and Bone!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Okay so I did some research and it looks like they are actually combining Six of Crows and Shadow and Bone by intertwining Kaz and the dregs with Alina’s timeline. I am really interested to see how that turns out!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t read this series yet but it is on my list for this year. I have read Six of Crows and I didn’t really like it or understand the hype that surrounded it. I had hoped that maybe if I read this one that I might understand the world a bit better and then enjoy SoC a bit more. I suppose we’ll see! Sorry you weren’t so keen ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reading books from the early 2010’s is such a trip and it’s so interesting to see how the genres have changed. I read Six of Crows first and it’s my favorite series of all time so I’m a little biased. Reading the Grish trilogy afterwards made me really disappointed and I agree with all your points. This book is filled with so many cliches and predictability at some points it’s hard to read. I’d really love to read your thoughts on SoC if you end up reading it!

    Liked by 1 person

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