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Book Review: “Shadow and Bone” by Leigh Bardugo

– Posted in: Fantasy Book Reviews

Back to Ravka

Last August I reviewed Six of Crows and in May Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. These books were written after her Grisha series. I liked them so much, I went back and read her trilogy.

In Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Book 1), Bardugo takes us to the nation of Ravka, based on Russia and the surrounding countries. It’s the same world as Six of Crows, but the characters and the story are very different. We see Ravka from a very different perspective. Some of of our friends from Six of Crows make cameo appearances in the trilogy.

The Amazon Blurb

“Soldier. Summoner. Saint. Orphaned and expendable, Alina Starkov is a soldier who knows she may not survive her first trek across the Shadow Fold—a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. But when her regiment is attacked, Alina unleashes dormant magic not even she knew she possessed.

“Now Alina will enter a lavish world of royalty and intrigue as she trains with the Grisha, her country’s magical military elite—and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes Alina can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war-ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift.

“As the threat to the kingdom mounts and Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she loves and the very future of a nation.

“Welcome to Ravka . . . a world of science and superstition where nothing is what it seems.”

My Response

If you’ve read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, you’ll probably like the trilogy. I’d recommend this trilogy. I found this book delightful. I like the complex characters, the world, and the magic system. Bardugo knows how to weave a story and make you fall in love with her world and her characters.

This book seems to start slow, which is an illusion because rather quickly things go very, very wrong and the action doesn’t slow down. We find out that the Shadow Fold, a cursed area in this war torn world, is about a zillion times scarier than our worse nightmares. Alina and everyone who survives the first attack learns that she has a power that can fight back the growing curse of the Shadow Fold. When the Darkling, the leader of the Grisha, arrives to question Alina, she and the reader realize the man is well named. This inexperienced teenager is going to have to get strong fast to stand up to what’s ahead for her and her friends. The adventure starts with a bang and the momentum keeps building until the end. It’s a page turner, so be prepared.

These books are darker than the Six of Crow, but just as fascinating and enjoyable. There is a love story, which becomes complex. If you’ve read my reviews, you’ll know that sometimes I get impatient with romantic stories. This book was no exception. My frustration comes from Alina, who is otherwise an intelligent, strong character and somehow manages to act as if she has mush for brains. However, love and lust make people act crazy, and I admit that when dark magic is involved her actions probably reflect that influence.

As I’ve suggested before, check out Bardugo’s website; it’s fun.

If you haven’t read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom and are interested in them, click the links to read my reviews.

Other Reviews You Might Like

The Grisha Trilogy:
Book Review of Siege and Storm (Grisha Book 2)
Book Review of Ruin and Rising (Grisha Book 3)

The Crows (Set in the same world):
Review of Six of Crows
Review of Crooked Kingdom

The Usual Reminders

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