I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh BardugoShadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #1
Published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers on June 5th 2012
Format: eARC
Genres: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 358
Source: NetGalley
GoodreadsGood BooksAmazon
four-stars
The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.

Damn you, Leigh Bardugo.  Damn you for tricking me.

Leigh Bardugo is like some kind of literary crouching tiger, hidden dragon or something.

You would be forgiven, upon commencing this novel, for thinking Shadow and Bone is redundant, cliched piece of tripe book with poor story-telling, average writing and a predictable plot.  People who haven’t read countless Young Adult novels probably wouldn’t notice the trends, but I did.  This is what I thought and Leigh led me down the primrose path until… BOOM!

Game change.  Glorious, glorious game change.  Black is white, up is down, you are not secretly attracted to me.  EVERYTHING CHANGES.

Kaching. Lights on.  Real show begins and we hope you enjoyed that prelude.  Also, while you weren’t looking, we falcon-punched your ovaries.

The themes of Shadow and Bone center around power, and the struggle for it.  What does it mean?  What is it worth?  What do you do with it?  Also, there’s love and romancey stuff for those who care for such things – and who have a functioning heart.

More importantly, for me, was the violence, court intrigue and sexy times of which make up some part of this novel.  These aspects were definitely there but they were flirted with.  I would have liked more of these and a little less of the boarding-house shenanigans and bitchy-mean girl drama.  It was outside these factors that I loved the novel.

It’s strengths definitely rely on its characters and powerful storyline because the actual narration and writing tended toward the telling as opposed to showing side.

For example:

Alexei’s fingers slipped on the railing.  I lunged forward and grabbed his arm.

“Hold on!” I cried.

Then the flame vanished, and in the darkness I felt Alexei’s fingers pulled from mine.

“Alexei!” I shouted.

His screams faded into the sounds of battle as the volca carried him into the dark.  Another burst of flame lit the sky, but he was gone.

Still, I’m wondering if maybe the things I loved most about Shadow and Bone will be carried on in the next novel.  To the very last page I loved the Darkling – not because he was sexy – but for the dark, rawness of his character.  The dynamic it played with Alina in how she saw herself.  Identity, concepts of misplaced idealism.  Lust, love, ownership vs freely given love.  It was all there amidst a world-building that was surprisingly lite for this caliber of novel – yet hinted at so much more.

Overall, a great read and I look forward to the next book where Leigh will probably rip out my still-beating heart and feed it to a raging bear while I applaud in amazement.  Or, you know, something synonymous.

 

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy
I will finish this. I will finish this. I will finish this. - 16 mins ago
Kat Kennedy


10 Responses to “Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo”

  1. Stephanie Sinclair
    Twitter:

    I’m so happy you enjoyed it! :D

  2. I gotta say that that is a really cool cover. And if the book manages to subvert cliches and be surprising, I may have to look into it! I love cliche twists- especially since the whole YA genre seems plagued with predictable tropes.
    Maggie Flynn recently posted…5 dead authors who would have made great bloggersMy Profile

  3. Holy cow–I want to read this book this very second of this very day! Twisty-turny darkness rocks my world. Lucky me, I have this on my shelf! Weekend reading list created. Nice review!
    Mary @ Book Swarm recently posted…Would Make A Cool Book Cover (2)My Profile

  4. I just got this one in the mail and can’t wait to read it!
    Liviania recently posted…Keyword FunMy Profile

  5. It is a gorgeous cover, and I cannot wait to read and review this one! I’m dying for some high fantasy – it seems to me like a really underrated genre, especially YA. Have you read The Girl of Fire and Thorns?
    Reut recently posted…I’m Back, I Don’t Feel Like Blogging, and I’m SorryMy Profile

  6. I am so jealous you guys got an ARC. Seriously this book looks awesome! Great Review by the way. Way to leave me hanging as well.
    Amanda @ Sisters Unedited
    Amanda @ Sisters Unedited recently posted…18 & Over Book Blogger Follow # 26My Profile

  7. Great review and loved the twisty dark tale. I agree with you about the theme about Power and many types of them. It amazeballs me :) I loved Darkling too. :)
    Julie@my5monkeys recently posted…Wish you were here Book reviewMy Profile

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