Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy Series #1)

Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy Series #1)

4.5 246
by Leigh Bardugo

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Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, all she’s ever been able to rely on is her best friend and fellow refugee, Mal. And lately not even that seems certain. Drafted into the army of their war-torn homeland, they’ve been sent on a dangerous mission into the Fold, a swath of darkness crawling with monsters who

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Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, all she’s ever been able to rely on is her best friend and fellow refugee, Mal. And lately not even that seems certain. Drafted into the army of their war-torn homeland, they’ve been sent on a dangerous mission into the Fold, a swath of darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh.


When their convoy is attacked, all seems lost until Alina reveals a dormant power that not even she knew existed. She is torn from everything she knows and whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. He believes that she is the answer the people have been waiting for: the Sun Summoner. Only her power can destroy the Fold.


Overwhelmed by luxury, envied as the Darkling’s favorite, Alina struggles to keep her wits about her without Mal by her side. But nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her mastery of her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha—and the secrets of her heart.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a strong debut, Bardugo draws inspiration from Russian and Slavic myth and culture to kick off her Grisha trilogy. In the nation of Ravka, Alina Starkov is a junior cartographer’s assistant in the army, while her best friend Mal is an expert tracker. When a perilous mission into the magically created Shadow Fold goes wrong, Mal is gravely wounded and Alina manifests the rare ability to summon light. Immediately recruited into the order of the magic-using Grisha, Alina is taken under the wing of its intimidating and powerful leader, the Darkling, and heralded as the potential destroyer of the Shadow Fold. As she navigates Grisha politics and uncovers well-hidden secrets, she realizes that the fate of the nation rests on her shoulders and she may be in grave danger. Filled with lush descriptions, intriguing magic, and plenty of twists, this memorable adventure offers action and intrigue mixed with an undercurrent of romance and danger. Alina’s angst and passivity are a bit of a letdown, but Bardugo’s storytelling and world-building more than compensate. Ages 12–up. Agent: Joanna Stampfel-Volpe, Nancy Coffey Literary Agency. (June)
Children's Literature - Maggie L. Schrock
Alina and Mal, orphaned children from an early age, grew up as best friends in war-torn Ravka. Now, they are both part of the First Regiment and head across the Fold to get supplies from West Ravka. While journeying across the treacherous Fold, their regiment is attacked and Alina unleashes her dormant power to save Mal's life. News of this power quickly spreads to the Darkling, the leader of the King's army. Whisked away to become a member of the magical Grisha, Alina finds herself alone in a strange new place. She quickly falls for the mysterious Darkling, but continues to struggle to control her power as the sun-summoner. After months of having no contact with Mal, but harnessing this strange gift, Alina is shocked to be accosted by her teacher, Baghra. Baghra convinces Alina that the Darkling is trying to control the world by spreading the terrible Fold to anywhere that will not succumb to his power by using Alina's power. Alina flees Os Alta, but quickly finds she is unable to hide on her own. Alina is soon found and rescued by Mal. Even though they escape to safety, they are unsure of the Darkling's survival. The first in a new series, Bardugo teleports the reader into a magical world with Alina's story. A theme of love and forgiveness is woven throughout as Alina makes her way through this new life. Reviewer: Maggie L. Schrock
VOYA - Christina Miller
Book 1 of Leigh Bardugo's fantasy series, the Grisha Trilogy, tells of the travails of war orphans, Alina Starkov and Malyen Oretsev. Raised on Duke Keramsov's estate in the Russian kingdom of Ravka, Alina and Mal's childhood of chores, lessons, and beatings was made more tolerable by their close friendship. When they are older, Alina and Mal join the army, Alina as a cartographer-in-training and Mal as a tracker. Ravka is cut off from the sea by the "Shadow Fold," a menacing fog filled with murderous bird-like volcra. During a catastrophic event on an army mission in the Fold, Alina's potent power is discovered, and she is whisked away to the Royal Palace to live in luxury among the top echelon Grisha class. Although she misses Mal, whereabouts unknown, Alina sharpens her skill and begins to enjoy her new-found status as the Darkling's favorite Grisha. Danger and duplicity abound (is the Darkling good or evil?) in this lavish portrayal of a country reminiscent of Imperial Russia. Will Alina eradicate the Fold and end the border wars that severed Ravka from the western ports? Has Mal forgotten her? Shadow And Bone has all the features one looks for in a teen fantasy novel—lots of action, characters with fantastical powers, intrigue, mystical creatures, deception, and romance. Fantasy fans will enjoy this one and look forward to the next. Reviewer: Christina Miller
Kirkus Reviews
In a Russian-inflected fantasy world, an orphan comes into immense power and, with it, danger. When the Grisha came to test inseparable friends Alina and Malyen, neither showed any aptitude for the Small Science. Years later, they are in the army, Alina in the cartographer corps and Mal a tracker. They are escorting the Darkling, the most powerful Grisha in the land, across the terrifying Shadow Fold that divides Ravka's heart from its coast. An attack by the terrifying volcra brings forth a power Alina never knew she had: She is a Sun Summoner. The charismatic, quartz-eyed Darkling takes her to the palace to learn the art of the Etherealki, and Mal is left behind. Bardugo allows the details of Grisha magic to unfold with limited exposition, using Alina's ignorance for readers' benefit. While Alina's training borrows familiar tropes (outlander combat teacher, wizened-crone magic instructor, friends and enemies among her peers), readers will nevertheless cheer her progress. But the worldbuilding is continually undercut by clunky colloquialisms; such phrases as "Well, that's completely creepy" and "It's okay" yank readers out of this carefully constructed, mostly preindustrial world. Readers may also be troubled by the sexualization of power found in its pages. The plotting is powerful enough to carry most readers past flaws and into the next book in the series. (classification of Grisha types, map [not seen]) (Fantasy. 13 & up)
The New York Times Book Review
Some fantasy novels deal out the tropes of the genre like cards from a dog-eared deck. Others affirm the elemental power of these tropes, reminding us not only why we read fantasy, but also why we read at all. There may be nothing new under the sun, but a good story makes you just not care. Like the expert strike of a reflex hammer, it hits precisely the right spot. Leigh Bardugo's first novel, Shadow and Bone, does so straight from its opening lines, pulling the reader into a mesmerizing exploration of one of the most potent fantasy novel motifs: the discovery of hidden strength within oneself.
—Laini Taylor
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Fast-paced and unpredictable, this debut novel will be a hit with readers who love dark fantasy. Orphans and childhood friends Alina and Mal are tested for magical abilities early in life. Not wanting to be separated from her only friend, Alina manages to hide her powers and grows into her teen years, unnoticed and unremarkable. But when she and Mal must cross the perilous Shadow Fold as army soldiers, Alina uses her dormant powers to save Mal's life. After that episode, Alina is revealed to be a "Sun Summoner," a person who can bring forth light and maybe destroy the Shadow Fold for good. She's whisked away to train as a Grisha, a group whose varied powers assist the royal court. There, she begins to understand her incredible abilities with the help of the ancient and powerful Darkling, "a man second in power only to the King," who leads Alina to believe that she can bring peace to their divided country. Bardugo creates a unique world complete with monsters, magic, danger, romance, corruption, and extravagance. Suspense builds slowly, allowing readers time to absorb the otherworldly setting and the battle between the darkness that destroys and the light that saves. In the world of the Grisha, few things are as they seem, and wondering who Alina should trust—and if she can even trust herself—adds to the intrigue.—Leigh Collazo, Ed Willkie Middle School, Fort Worth, TX

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Product Details

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
Grisha Trilogy Series, #1
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.92(w) x 8.38(h) x 1.20(d)
800L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Shadow and Bone

By Leigh Bardugo

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Copyright © 2012 Leigh Bardugo
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780805094596

Shadow and Bone
CHAPTER ISTANDING ON THE EDGE of a crowded road, I looked down onto the rolling fields and abandoned of farms of the Tula Valley and got my first glimpse of the Shadow Fold. My regiment was two weeks' march from the military encampment at Poliznaya and the autumn sun was warm overhead, but I shivered in my coat as I eyed the haze that lay like a dirty smudge on the horizon.A heavy shoulder slammed into me from behind. I stumbled and nearly pitched face-first into the muddy road."Hey!" shouted the soldier. "Watch yourself !""Why don't you watch your fat feet?" I snapped, and took some satisfaction from the surprise that came over his broad face. People, particularly big men carrying big rifles,don't expect lip from a scrawny thing like me. They always look a bit dazed when they get it.The soldier got over the novelty quickly and gave me a dirty look as he adjusted the pack on his back, then disappeared into the caravan of horses, men, carts, and wagons streaming over the crest of the hill and into the valley below.I quickened my steps, trying to peer over the crowd. I'd lost sight of the yellow flag of the surveyors' cart hours ago, and I knew I was far behind.As I walked, I took in the green and gold smells of the autumn wood, the soft breeze at my back. We were on the Vy, the wide road that had once led all the way from Os Alta to the wealthy port cities on Ravka's western coast. But that was before the Shadow Fold.Somewhere in the crowd, someone was singing. Singing? What idiot is singing on his way into the Fold? I glanced again at that smudge on the horizon and had to suppress a shudder. I'd seen the Shadow Fold on many maps, a black slash that had severed Ravka from its only coastline and left it landlocked. Sometimes it was shown as a stain, sometimes as a bleak and shapeless cloud. And then there were the maps that just showed the Shadow Fold as a long, narrow lake and labeled it by its other name, "the Unsea," a name intended to put soldiers and merchants at their ease and encourage crossings.I snorted. That might fool some fat merchant, but it was little comfort to me.I tore my attention from the sinister haze hovering in the distance and looked down onto the ruined farms of the Tula. The valley had once been home to some of Ravka's richest estates. One day it was a place where farmers tended crops and sheep grazed in green fields. The next, a dark slash had appeared on the landscape, a swath of nearly impenetrable darkness that grew with every passing year and crawled with horrors. Where the farmers had gone, their herds, their crops, their homes and families, no one knew.Stop it, I told myself firmly. You're only making things worse. People have been crossing the Fold for years ... usually with massive casualties, but all the same. I took a deep breath to steady myself."No fainting in the middle of the road," said a voice close to my ear as a heavy arm landed across my shoulders and gave me a squeeze. I looked up to see Mal's familiar face, a smile in his bright blue eyes as he fell into step beside me. "C'mon," he said. "One foot in front of the other. You know how it's done.""You're interfering with my plan.""Oh really?""Yes. Faint, get trampled, grievous injuries all around.""That sounds like a brilliant plan.""Ah, but if I'm horribly maimed, I won't be able to cross the Fold."Mal nodded slowly. "I see. I can shove you under a cart if that would help.""I'll think about it," I grumbled, but I felt my mood lifting all the same. Despite my best efforts, Mal still had that effect on me. And I wasn't the only one. A pretty blond girl strolled by and waved, throwing Mal a flirtatious glance over her shoulder."Hey, Ruby," he called. "See you later?"Ruby giggled and scampered off into the crowd. Mal grinned broadly until he caught my eye roll."What? I thought you liked Ruby.""As it happens, we don't have much to talk about," I said drily. I actually had liked Ruby--at first. When Mal and I left the orphanage at Keramzin to train for our military service in Poliznaya, I'd been nervous about meeting new people. But lots of girls had been excited to befriend me, and Ruby had been among the most eager. Those friendships lasted as long as it took me to figure out that their only interest in me lay in my proximity to Mal.Now I watched him stretch his arms expansively and turn his face up to the autumn sky, looking perfectly content. There was even, I noted with some disgust, a little bounce in his step."What is wrong with you?" I whispered furiously."Nothing," he said, surprised. "I feel great.""But how can you be so ... so jaunty?""Jaunty? I've never been jaunty. I hope never to be jaunty.""Well, then what's all this?" I asked, waving a hand at him. "You look like you're on your way to a really good dinner instead of possible death and dismemberment."Mal laughed. "You worry too much. The King's sent a whole group of Grisha pyros to cover the skiffs, and even a few of those creepy Heartrenders. We have our rifles," he said, patting the one on his back. "We'll be fine.""A rifle won't make much difference if there's a bad attack."Mal gave me a bemused glance. "What's with you lately? You're even grumpier than usual. And you look terrible.""Thanks," I groused. "I haven't been sleeping well.""What else is new?"He was right, of course. I'd never slept well. But it had been even worse over the last few days. Saints knew I had plenty of good reasons to dread going into the Fold, reasons shared by every member of our regiment who had been unlucky enough to be chosen for the crossing. But there was something else, a deeper feeling of unease that I couldn't quite name.I glanced at Mal. There had been a time when I could have told him anything. "I just ... have this feeling.""Stop worrying so much. Maybe they'll put Mikhael on the skiff. The volcra will take one look at that big juicy belly of his and leave us alone."Unbidden, a memory came to me: Mal and I, sitting side by side in a chair in the Duke's library, flipping through the pages of a large leather-bound book. We'd happened on an illustration of a volcra: long, filthy claws; leathery wings; and rows of razor-sharp teeth for feasting on human flesh. They were blind from generations spent living and hunting in the Fold, but legend had it they could smell human blood from miles away. I'd pointed to the page and asked, "What is it holding?"I could still hear Mal's whisper in my ear. "I think--I think it's a foot." We'd slammed the book shut and run squealing out into the safety of the sunlight ... .Without realizing it, I'd stopped walking, frozen in place, unable to shake the memory from my mind. When Mal realized I wasn't with him, he gave a great beleaguered sigh and marched back to me. He rested his hands on my shoulders and gave me a little shake."I was kidding. No one's going to eat Mikhael.""I know," I said, staring down at my boots. "You're hilarious.""Alina, come on. We'll be fine.""You can't know that.""Look at me." I willed myself to raise my eyes to his. "I know you're scared. I am, too. But we're going to do this, and we're going to be fine. We always are. Okay?" He smiled, and my heart gave a very loud thud in my chest.I rubbed my thumb over the scar that ran across thepalm of my right hand and took a shaky breath. "Okay," I said grudgingly, and I actually felt myself smiling back."Madam's spirits have been restored!" Mal shouted. "The sun can once more shine!""Oh will you shut up?"I turned to give him a punch, but before I could, he'd grabbed hold of me and lifted me off my feet. A clatter of hooves and shouts split the air. Mal yanked me to the side of the road just as a huge black coach roared past, scattering people before it as they ran to avoid the pounding hooves of four black horses. Beside the whip-wielding driver perched two soldiers in charcoal coats.The Darkling. There was no mistaking his black coach or the uniform of his personal guard.Another coach, this one lacquered red, rumbled past us at a more leisurely pace.I looked up at Mal, my heart racing from the close call. "Thanks," I whispered. Mal suddenly seemed to realize that he had his arms around me. He let go and hastily stepped back. I brushed the dust from my coat, hoping he wouldn't notice the flush on my cheeks.A third coach rolled by, lacquered in blue, and a girl leaned out the window. She had curling black hair and wore a hat of silver fox. She scanned the watching crowd and, predictably, her eyes lingered on Mal.You were just mooning over him, I chided myself. Why shouldn't some gorgeous Grisha do the same?Her lips curled into a small smile as she held Mal's gaze, watching him over her shoulder until the coach was out of sight. Mal goggled dumbly after her, his mouth slightly open."Close your mouth before something flies in," I snapped.Mal blinked, still looking dazed."Did you see that?" a voice bellowed. I turned to see Mikhael loping toward us, wearing an almost comical expression of awe. Mikhael was a huge redhead with a wide face and an even wider neck. Behind him, Dubrov, reedy and dark, hurried to catch up. They were both trackers in Mal's unit and never far from his side."Of course I saw it," Mal said, his dopey expression evaporating into a cocky grin. I rolled my eyes."She looked right at you!" shouted Mikhael, clapping Mal on the back.Mal gave a casual shrug, but his smile widened. "So she did," he said smugly.Dubrov shifted nervously. "They say Grisha girls can put spells on you."I snorted.Mikhael looked at me as if he hadn't even known I was there. "Hey, Sticks," he said, and gave me a little jab on the arm. I scowled at the nickname, but he had already turned back to Mal. "You know she'll be staying at camp," he said with a leer."I hear the Grisha tent's as big as a cathedral," added Dubrov."Lots of nice shadowy nooks," said Mikhael, and actually waggled his brows.Mal whooped. Without sparing me another glance, the three of them strode off, shouting and shoving one another."Great seeing you guys," I muttered under my breath. I readjusted the strap of the satchel slung across my shoulders and started back down the road, joining the last few stragglers down the hill and into Kribirsk. I didn't bother to hurry. I'd probably get yelled at when I finally made it to the Documents Tent, but there was nothing I could do about it now.I rubbed my arm where Mikhael had punched me. Sticks. I hated that name. You didn't call me Sticks when you were drunk on kvas and trying to paw me at the spring bonfire, you miserable oaf, I thought spitefully.Kribirsk wasn't much to look at. According to the Senior Cartographer, it had been a sleepy market town in the days before the Shadow Fold, little more than a dusty main square and an inn for weary travelers on the Vy. But now it had become a kind of ramshackle port city, growing up around a permanent military encampment and the drydocks where the sandskiffs waited to take passengers through the darkness to West Ravka. I passed taverns and pubs and what I was pretty sure were brothels meant to cater to the troops of the King's Army. There were shops selling rifles and crossbows, lamps and torches, all necessary equipment for a trek across the Fold. The little church with itswhitewashed walls and gleaming onion domes was in surprisingly good repair. Or maybe not so surprising, I considered. Anyone contemplating a trip across the Shadow Fold would be smart to stop and pray.I found my way to where the surveyors were billeted, deposited my pack on a cot, and hurried over to the Documents Tent. To my relief, the Senior Cartographer was nowhere in sight, and I was able to slip inside unseen.Entering the white canvas tent, I felt myself relax for the first time since I'd caught sight of the Fold. The Documents Tent was essentially the same in every camp I'd seen, full of bright light and rows of drafting tables where artists and surveyors bent to their work. After the noise and jostle of the journey, there was something soothing about the crackle of paper, the smell of ink, and the soft scratching of nibs and brushes.I pulled my sketchbook from my coat pocket and slid onto a workbench beside Alexei, who turned to me and whispered irritably, "Where have you been?""Nearly getting trampled by the Darkling's coach," I replied, grabbing a clean piece of paper and flipping through my sketches to try to find a suitable one to copy. Alexei and I were both junior cartographers' assistants and, as part of our training, we had to submit two finished sketches or renderings at the end of every day.Alexei drew in a sharp breath. "Really? Did you actually see him?""Actually, I was too busy trying not to die.""There are worse ways to go." He caught sight of the sketch of a rocky valley I was about to start copying. "Ugh. Not that one." He flipped through my sketchbook to an elevation of a mountain ridge and tapped it with his finger. "There."I barely had time to put pen to paper before the Senior Cartographer entered the tent and came swooping down the aisle, observing our work as he passed."I hope that's the second sketch you're starting, Alina Starkov.""Yes," I lied. "Yes, it is."As soon as the Cartographer had passed on, Alexei whispered, "Tell me about the coach.""I have to finish my sketches.""Here," he said in exasperation, sliding one of his sketches over to me."He'll know it's your work.""It's not that good. You should be able to pass it off as yours.""Now there's the Alexei I know and tolerate," I grumbled, but I didn't give back the sketch. Alexei was one of the most talented assistants and he knew it.Alexei extracted every last detail from me about the three Grisha coaches. I was grateful for the sketch, so I did my best to satisfy his curiosity as I finished up my elevation of the mountain ridge and worked in my thumb measurements of some of the highest peaks.By the time we were finished, dusk was falling. We handed in our work and walked to the mess tent, where we stood in line for muddy stew ladled out by a sweaty cook and found seats with some of the other surveyors.I passed the meal in silence, listening to Alexei and the others exchange camp gossip and jittery talk about tomorrow's crossing. Alexei insisted that I retell the story of the Grisha coaches, and it was met by the usual mix of fascination and fear that greeted any mention of the Darkling."He's not natural," said Eva, another assistant; she had pretty green eyes that did little to distract from her piglike nose. "None of them are."Alexei sniffed. "Please spare us your superstition, Eva.""It was a Darkling who made the Shadow Fold to begin with.""That was hundreds of years ago!" protested Alexei. "And that Darkling was completely mad.""This one is just as bad.""Peasant," Alexei said, and dismissed her with a wave. Eva gave him an affronted look and deliberately turned away from him to talk to her friends.I stayed quiet. I was more a peasant than Eva, despite her superstitions. It was only by the Duke's charity that I could read and write, but by unspoken agreement, Mal and I avoided mentioning Keramzin.As if on cue, a raucous burst of laughter pulled me frommy thoughts. I looked over my shoulder. Mal was holding court at a rowdy table of trackers.Alexei followed my glance. "How did you two become friends anyway?""We grew up together.""You don't seem to have much in common."I shrugged. "I guess it's easy to have a lot in common when you're kids." Like loneliness, and memories of parents we were meant to forget, and the pleasure of escaping chores to play tag in our meadow.Alexei looked so skeptical that I had to laugh. "He wasn't always the Amazing Mal, expert tracker and seducer of Grisha girls."Alexei's jaw dropped. "He seduced a Grisha girl?""No, but I'm sure he will," I muttered."So what was he like?""He was short and pudgy and afraid of baths," I said with some satisfaction.Alexei glanced at Mal. "I guess things change."I rubbed my thumb over the scar in my palm. "I guess they do."We cleared our plates and drifted out of the mess tent into the cool night. On the way back to the barracks, we took a detour so that we could walk by the Grisha camp. The Grisha pavilion really was the size of a cathedral, covered in black silk, its blue, red, and purple pennants flying high above. Hidden somewhere behind it were the Darkling'stents, guarded by Corporalki Heartrenders and the Darkling's personal guard.When Alexei had looked his fill, we wended our way back to our quarters. Alexei got quiet and started cracking his knuckles, and I knew we were both thinking about tomorrow's crossing. Judging by the gloomy mood in the barracks, we weren't alone. Some people were already on their cots, sleeping--or trying to--while others huddled by lamplight, talking in low tones. A few sat clutching their icons, praying to their Saints.I unfurled my bedroll on a narrow cot, removed my boots, and hung up my coat. Then I wriggled down into the fur-lined blankets and stared up at the roof, waiting for sleep. I stayed that way for a long time, until the lamplights had all been extinguished and the sounds of conversation gave way to soft snores and the rustle of bodies.Tomorrow, if everything went as planned, we would pass safely through to West Ravka, and I would get my first glimpse of the True Sea. There, Mal and the other trackers would hunt for red wolves and sea foxes and other coveted creatures that could only be found in the west. I would stay with the cartographers in Os Kervo to finish my training and help draft whatever information we managed to glean in the Fold. And then, of course, I'd have to cross the Fold again in order to return home. But it was hard to think that far ahead.I was still wide awake when I heard it. Tap tap. Pause. Tap. Then again: Tap tap. Pause. Tap."What's going on?" mumbled Alexei drowsily from the cot nearest mine."Nothing," I whispered, already slipping out of my bedroll and shoving my feet into my boots.I grabbed my coat and crept out of the barracks as quietly as I could. As I opened the door I heard a giggle, and a female voice called from somewhere in the dark room, "If it's that tracker, tell him to come inside and keep me warm.""If he wants to catch tsifil, I'm sure you'll be his first stop," I said sweetly, and slipped out into the night.The cold air stung my cheeks and I buried my chin in my collar, wishing I'd taken the time to grab my scarf and gloves. Mal was sitting on the rickety steps, his back to me. Beyond him, I could see Mikhael and Dubrov passing a bottle back and forth beneath the glowing lights of the footpath.I scowled. "Please tell me you didn't just wake me up to inform me that you're going to the Grisha tent. What do you want, advice?""You weren't sleeping. You were lying awake worrying.""Wrong. I was planning how to sneak into the Grisha pavilion and snag myself a cute Corporalnik."Mal laughed. I hesitated by the door. This was the hardest part of being around him--other than the way he made my heart do clumsy acrobatics. I hated hiding how much the stupid things he did hurt me, but I hated the idea of him finding out even more. I thought about just turning aroundand going back inside. Instead, I swallowed my jealousy and sat down beside him."I hope you brought me something nice," I said. "Alina's Secrets of Seduction do not come cheap."He grinned. "Can you put it on my tab?""I suppose. But only because I know you're good for it."I peered into the dark and watched Dubrov take a swig from the bottle and then lurch forward. Mikhael put his arm out to steady him, and the sounds of their laughter floated back to us on the night air.Mal shook his head and sighed. "He always tries to keep up with Mikhael. He'll probably end up puking on my boots.""Serves you right," I said. "So what are you doing here?" When we'd first started our military service a year ago, Mal had visited me almost every night. But he hadn't come by in months.He shrugged. "I don't know. You looked so miserable at dinner."I was surprised he'd noticed. "Just thinking about the crossing," I said carefully. It wasn't exactly a lie. I was terrified of entering the Fold, and Mal definitely didn't need to know that Alexei and I had been talking about him. "But I'm touched by your concern.""Hey," he said with a grin, "I worry.""If you're lucky, a volcra will have me for breakfast tomorrow and then you won't have to fret anymore.""You know I'd be lost without you.""You've never been lost in your life," I scoffed. I was the mapmaker, but Mal could find true north blindfolded and standing on his head.He bumped his shoulder against mine. "You know what I mean.""Sure," I said. But I didn't. Not really.We sat in silence, watching our breath make plumes in the cold air.Mal studied the toes of his boots and said, "I guess I'm nervous, too."I nudged him with my elbow and said with confidence I didn't feel, "If we can take on Ana Kuya, we can handle a few volcra.""If I remember right, the last time we crossed Ana Kuya, you got your ears boxed and we both ended up mucking out the stables."I winced. "I'm trying to be reassuring. You could at least pretend I'm succeeding.""You know the funny thing?" he asked. "I actually miss her sometimes."I did my best to hide my astonishment. We'd spent more than ten years of our lives in Keramzin, but usually I got the impression that Mal wanted to forget everything about the place, maybe even me. There he'd been another lost refugee, another orphan made to feel grateful for every mouthful of food, every used pair of boots. In the army,he'd carved out a real place for himself where no one needed to know that he'd once been an unwanted little boy."Me too," I admitted. "We could write to her.""Maybe," Mal said.Suddenly, he reached out and took hold of my hand. I tried to ignore the little jolt that went through me. "This time tomorrow, we'll be sitting in the harbor at Os Kervo, looking out at the ocean and drinking kvas."I glanced at Dubrov weaving back and forth and smiled. "Is Dubrov buying?""Just you and me," Mal said."Really?""It's always just you and me, Alina."For a moment, it seemed like it was true. The world was this step, this circle of lamplight, the two of us suspended in the dark."Come on!" bellowed Mikhael from the path.Mal started like a man waking from a dream. He gave my hand a last squeeze before he dropped it. "Gotta go," he said, his brash grin sliding back into place. "Try to get some sleep."He hopped lightly from the stairs and jogged off to join his friends. "Wish me luck!" he called over his shoulder."Good luck," I said automatically and then wanted to kick myself. Good luck? Have a lovely time, Mal. Hope you find a pretty Grisha, fall deeply in love, and make lots of gorgeous, disgustingly talented babies together.I sat frozen on the steps, watching them disappear down the path, still feeling the warm pressure of Mal's hand in mine. Oh well, I thought as I got to my feet. Maybe he' ll fall into a ditch on his way there.I edged back into the barracks, closed the door tightly behind me, and gratefully snuggled into my bedroll.Would that black-haired Grisha girl sneak out of the pavilion to meet Mal? I pushed the thought away. It was none of my business, and really, I didn't want to know. Mal had never looked at me the way he'd looked at that girl or even the way he looked at Ruby, and he never would. But the fact that we were still friends was more important than any of that.For how long? said a nagging voice in my head. Alexei was right: things change. Mal had changed for the better. He'd gotten handsomer, braver, cockier. And I'd gotten ... taller. I sighed and rolled onto my side. I wanted to believe that Mal and I would always be friends, but I had to face the fact that we were on different paths. Lying in the dark, waiting for sleep, I wondered if those paths would just keep taking us further and further apart, and if a day might come when we would be strangers to each other once again.Copyright © 2012 by Leigh Bardugo


Excerpted from Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo Copyright © 2012 by Leigh Bardugo. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Shadow and Bone 4.5 out of 5 based on 3 ratings. 246 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantasy fans will love this young adult novel. It is well written and thoroughly enjoyable. More of an epic fantasy than a light fantasy. It draws from Russian folklore and features a strong female lead. There is some romance, but the main focus is on the lead learning she has power and then learning how to wield it. My only complaint is that I wish it had been longer. I was really into the setting and the characters. I chose this book because of my fondness for the Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin. I wasn't disappointed and can't wait to read the sequel to Shadow and Bone.
Cupcakegirly More than 1 year ago
Excuse me while I FANGIRL all over this book! The last couple of books I've read, have been such downers for me that I've either been unable to finish them or tempted to throw in the reading towel altogether. That is until this book... I'd seen the reviews, heard the hype and had it recommended to me by numerous people but honestly, when I got it and realized there was a map in the front, I was in no hurry to bump it up in my TBR pile. What's the big deal about a map? They just scare me. Always have. Old ones, new ones, doesn't matter. I see a map and a part of my brain panics. (Irrational, stupid, silly...I know.) Maps don't deter me from reading books but they do delay me sometimes which is what happened with Shadow and Bone and I am kicking myself for it. This is a fantastic debut! Bardugo has created a colorful world filled with fantasy, adventure, and a heart-clutching love story. Her world building is detailed, her characters complex and engaging and the story itself sucked me in immediately. I couldn't and didn't WANT to put this book down! Alina is a strong willed MC, whose courageous, with a good heart and a witty sense of humor. Mal, is a mix of comfort, strength and swoon (OhMyMal!) and the Darkling, a character that's equal parts beauty and danger, is one you can't help but feel drawn to. There is SO MUCH I want to say about this book *flails* and I don't want to spoil anything, but the plot twists and turns kept me guessing right up to the very end and left me craving the next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book with high expectations, as it is being hailed as an epic fantasy. This book had potential, if the story and the characters had properly been fleshed out and if the writing/editing team had done a little fact-checking and research. I kept having trouble picturing Alina. She is described as mousy, nicknamed "sticks" and has plain brown hair..... This gives me nothing. Does she have gypsy heritage? Does she have dark, beady eyes or thick lashes or freckles? I didn't know she had dark circles under her eyes until about halfway through the book. What drives her? Does she long for her mother? Was she an only child or does she have long lost siblings? Does she remember her Mother's soft voice or her Father sharing hot cocoa? Other than being an orphan with a childhood we gloss over, this character has no back story. Her life as an orphan is reduced to running off to the woods with Mal, avoiding the other children, and one adult.... Yet,, despite all of this, Alina fails to acquire a single trait that makes her relatable. Not only can we not understand what drives her, we really don't care. I have no idea how old she is or why she joined the military. I have no idea if she likes sunny warm days or cold days by a fire. I have no idea if she likes music or reading or drawing or how she spends her spare time or where her mind wanders when she's not pouting for herself. I have no idea who this girl is. The assorted other characters-the friends they make along the way- are so flat and boring that even the main characters have no attachment to them. Alina avoids most of her new friends and she avoids actual dialogue that would help establish any kind of real relationships in the book. The world they live in is supposed to be loosely based on Russia? I can only guess this because of the misused vocabulary. On every other page someone is drinking kvas, which the author seems to think is hard liquor but is a barely alchoholic soda served even to children. Not only that, aside from travelling for days, we have no real idea of what kind of climate we are seeing, aside from generic trees, mountains, meadows. We could be in Seattle or Upstate New York or Alaska for all I know. Finally, the characters learn nothing by the end of the book. Everything she should have discovered for herself is just blurted out by other characters, she shows more mercy to an animal than she does to the people who have tried to help her for the last several months. She only finally learns to use her power and then regain her power based on how she feels about Mal or breaking away from the darkling. You would think this would give her some perspective. It doesn't. When we meet her and when we leave her, the only thing about her that has grown is that she discovers her super power. Speaking of learning what exactly is the Little Palace. School? Training grounds? Why is it that, despite her mandatory reading, she learns nothing to prompt her to question her origins, her power, the motives of the darkling..... The author asks us to give up a willing suspension of disbelief without giving us something else to believe in. I could never completely understand the Shadow fold or the beasts inside or half their clothes. As a result, the epic fantasy is nothing but a muddled mess.....
TiareSho More than 1 year ago
After much consideration I've decided that I will give the book 5 stars after all, though there was some time in the middle there where I was worried about it. I, momentarily, feared that it included the one thing that can bring an otherwise good book down; insta-love. Luckily that matter was resolved, and I was able to go on enjoying the book. What I liked: - World building. To me, world building is one of the most important parts of a book. If I don't understand the setting, or if the author makes me effort to create a good fantasy world, then the book loses an entire layer of enjoyment, but this book had great world building. I think that including the map in the front of the book, as well as the explanation of the order of the Grisha, was a really good thing to do. I ended up flipping back to there a few times as I was reading, and it made the world building make a lot more sense. - She made me feel for both sides of the love triangle. As far as love triangles go, this one was good. The author got me on board with one side, and then managed to make me switch. Usually I get stuck on one side, and then no matter what the author does I just can't seem to see the light on the other side, but she made me feel for the Darkling, and the made me feel for Mal. - The Darkling. At first I really really liked him, and I wanted him to be with Alina. And then I really hated him, but in that way that good villains have, where you hate him so much that you like him. Kind of like Loki in The Avengers. He's the villain, but I can't really hate him. What I didn't like: - I could have done without the insta-love scare. Alina and the Darkling was my ship, but when he kissed her I really couldn't get on board with it. It was so sudden, and weird. However, this issue was resolved so this isn't really much of a negative. I'm definitely looking forward to the next book in the series! When does it come out? June? That's too far away!
NzYme More than 1 year ago
I read the post by the anonymous user who killed the book but he/she has a point about the protagonist. There is a huge gap in time from where Alina is in an orphanage to the time where she becomes a map maker in the army. That time SHOULD have been spent defining exactly who Alina is rather than being just a rebellious youth spouting off one or two lines responses. This book is going to be compared to the HP series since it has young protagonist with no parents, who holds a mysterious untapped power, and eventually finds her way to a school of magic. With that said it's not nearly as complex in terms of plot and character. It's still a fun read and the series has good potential. I need to see more from Alina though. I need to find out who she is and what drives her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. Alina’s journey from childhood to adult is quick and to the point. It’s enough of a background to allow the reader to understand her actions in the upcoming adventure. The storytelling is beautiful, the imagery compelling, with just enough vagueness to allow the read to fill in the blanks. I especially loved the points in the story when Alina learns that changes happen, accepts them, and moves on. The decisions she makes are not always the “right” decision, but she owns the outcome and is able to think for herself and grow as a person. I look forward to the next book in the series. *Originally posted on goodreads
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was hesitant to start this series! The synopsis does nothing to what the book is really about! I love the character of Alina! She was a refreshing personality! I liked how well the book was written and how much it pulled me in to continue with the series! I will definitely be recommending it to everyone I know!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Perfectly crafted world. Original plot. Authentic, intriguing characters. A VILLAIN TO KILL FOR. Beautiful. Just. Beautiful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
EK1 More than 1 year ago
The story of the book is engaging and interesting. However, as someone who was born and raised in Russia, I thought the author demonstrated a glaring lack of knowledge of the Russian linguistics and ignorance about the culture and traditions. It would have been better for the story to be set in a completely imagined country and using an invented language. But if you are going to try and derive terms, names, and locales, from a language spoken by over 150 million people in the world today, you should at least strive for authenticiy.
SecondRunReviews 6 days ago
Another #ShelfLove Book off my shelf. Another debate on whether to continue the a new series. Must every young adult novel be a series? *sighs* I did enjoy my adventure through Bardugo’s mythical world of Ravka that reminded me vaguely of Russia. I could feel the cold, the darkness and the fear. While my copy of the book is just a lowly paperback, I thought the novel was beautifully put together. The details in the chapter headings and surrounding the page numbers was fascinating. However, I think my time with girls that are hiding special powers, destined to save the world with the boy they shouldn’t love is over. I thought the novel was predictable. I could see how the novel was going to end and it left me feeling “Meh.” I know that this will probably cause me to be sent to Tsibeya because I know I have some friends absolutely loved this book/series, but I’m burned out on this type of story. So why did I keep reading? I was seduced by the Darkling and the Grisha. i was fascinated by their power, their life of privilege. I wanted to know more about how they became Grisha as each country introduced in the book treats this group of people differently. Sadly, I was disappointed on this front. And of course, this isn’t a story about the Grisha and the Darkling’s rise to power. It’s a story about special Alina and her special powers. For a reader that is a huge fan of The Hunger Games series or the Divergent series, The Grisha series might be right up their alley. Me, I’m going to pass on the remainder of the books in series. I’ll stay in The Shadow Fold with the volcra as I have no desire to see how this series ends.
Anonymous 15 days ago
Anonymous 3 months ago
Reading the rest of the series!
Anonymous 4 months ago
Anonymous 4 months ago
Kylie-MyBookishThoughts 5 months ago
Shadow and Bone was a marvelous fantasy tale. Bardugo created relatable characters and paired them with an exceptional fictional world. The hype of this book has been large. As with many popular books, they have the tendency to have all the same qualities. Not this one. Shadow and Bone is like nothing I have ever read. I can't wait to finish the trilogy. Pick up this fantastic series today! It's fresh, unique, and filled with action. Alina Starkov is an orphan. She was an abused child living in a house with a wretched duke, and cared for by an even more horrible lady, named Ana Kuya. Alina's life was drained of love. But when Mal , another orphan, shows up they immediately have a deep connection. Mal and Alina's relationship lays the foundation for this novel. They are the center that holds the world together. Mal is the only person that Alina can rely on. He is her rock. Alina has been in love with him since the beginning. The fictional world of Shadow and Bone is incredible. It's kind of hard to explain, though. Basically you have the country of Ravka, which is separated by the Unsea, or the Shadow Fold. The Shadow Fold was created hundreds of years ago and contains killer creatures called Volcra. Volcra are flying creatures that used to be the people living in the area before the Fold was created. Mal and Alina are both stationed near the fold in the First Army. Mal is a tracker and Alina is a mapmaker. This isn't a normal military base though. In Bardugo's world, there are Grisha. The Grisha are people with powers. They live in the Little Palace and are treated like royalty. However, the less important or powerful Grisha serve in the army, as well. There is a very distinct line between normal humans and Grisha. They do not associate with each other. During Alina and Mal's service, they travel with an army into the Shadow Fold. This is a daunting task that will have many casualties. Not even the Grisha can protect the army from the dangerous Volcra. Mal and Alina are both at the brink of death. Their skin torn from the Volcra's sharp claws. As Alina's life slips, a bright light as large as the sun shines out of Alina herself. When Alina comes too, she finds herself in the Grisha tent. Confused, she tries to play off what happened on the ship. There was no way she could be Grisha. She had been tested as a child and wasn't. There was simply no way. But the Darkling has other views on the situation. The Darkling is the leader of the Grisha. He is the ruler of the Little Palace and corresponds with the King himself. He has dark gray eyes and a handsome smile that everyone seems to fancy. The Darkling is also an amplifier. Meaning he can increase the power in a Grisha significantly. Items can also be amplifiers, and this comes into play a little bit later. The Darkling takes Alina into his grasp, and again, she lights up like the sun. The word choice and imagery that Bardugo uses in this part of the story is incredible. Having a girl light up brightly may seem a little odd, but the way that the author beautifully explains it makes is magical. The Darkling pronounces Alina as the Sun Summoner. She is destined to team up with the Darkling and eradicate the Shadow Fold entirely. She is taken away from camp, away from Mal, and to the Little Palace, to live her life as a Grisha Alina is revered at the Little Palace. She is prayed to and touched carefully. The Darkling goes to great lengths to protect Alina from harm. She is too importa
Anonymous 5 months ago
This book is amazing. Best book I have read in a while.
AsDreamsAreMade 7 months ago
Original Review Link: WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG TO READ THIS?! I could not put this book down. It was fantastic. Alina was never good at anything; a weakling who tires easily and not much of a beauty. The only person she cares about is her best friend Mal. When their regiment crosses the Shadow Fold, they’re attacked by the Volcra (horrible, mutant, flying beasts) and Mal is gravely injured. Alina awakens powers she never knew she had, saving them all. Whisked away to the Little Palace, Alina is trained in the ways of the Grisha, but her powers and the life she now leads are not as wonderful as they seem. She must decide who to trust and where her loyalties really lie. The novel takes place in the fictional Ravka, based on Russia. I thoroughly enjoyed the world building and felt Ms. Bardugo was very detailed from the food to the clothing to the terrain. And how many novels out there are based on a fictional Russia?? Totally awesome. Alina was a fantastic character. I loved her story arc because there really was an arc. You saw her struggle with her feelings for Mal and those of The Darkling. Usually, if there is a love triangle, I automatically gravitate toward one love interest, but I was really torn between these two (until certain revelations occurred). I really related with Alina’s decision and journey. Her struggle in becoming who she was meant to be and accepting her powers was a bit melodramatic at times, but not enough for me not to enjoy it. I loved all the characters in this story. All of them were extremely complex on so many levels–so rare! Alina, Mal, and the Darkling all stand out as rich, engaging characters, but the secondary ones are not to be forgotten. Genya and Baghra are interesting in their own right, especially Baghra. The plot was very developed and the twist at the end! The second I finished this, I went out and read the rest of the trilogy (Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising), which were equally as great; a fantastic trilogy.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Evilous 9 months ago I didn't know much about this book going in. I knew a bunch of people on BookTube and blogs I follow talked about it. I heard about the Darkling, though nothing specific. I only knew that people seemed to love this series. I was late to the party but I bought all three last year and they sat waiting for me on my shelf. I bought several books and series before YALLfest last year hoping to get to them all before but let's be honest things never work out as you plan. Still I missed my deadline but that only meant I could enjoy them later already waiting for me. My friend at Bogdana The Booknerd told me about a Goodreads read along starting the book we both had talked about wanting to read. It seemed like a good time to do it and reading only a couple chapters a day kept me on track for my other books as well. It was hard only reading the allotted chapters. That was my general feel through the read along. I always wanted to read ahead and fly through more chapters by the second day. The first part has some world building and such, all well done and drew me in but it became hard to put down quickly as well it hits the fan pretty early on and just goes and goes from there. I followed Alina through her journey and watched her deal with everything thrown at her from having a crush on her sexy and popular with the ladies best friend who is clueless to her feelings, to suddenly being looked at as more than an orphan in the regiment but the most important tool in ending the Shadow Fold. Serious life upheaval. She has her moments. Sometimes I wanted to strangle Alina for some of her choices but all the while I could understand where she was coming from even if I didn't agree. Some of the other characters, Mal, The Darkling, Genya, etc. put me through the ringer with emotions and feelings. I could never tell with them. One minute I was convinced of one thing then a later I was completely thinking something else. I loved that while I had some aspects pegged from the start I kept second guessing myself on some. The characters were written that well. Genya is such a free spirit and from the moment you first meet her you just kind of laugh reading scenes with her. Mal, boy next door you want to hit on the head for not noticing our herorine and being an idiot at times. The Darkling who has so much more to him and you see a side to him and think despite the fact that his name is the Darkling and your thinking he's going to be a bad guy by that alone might actually be searching for redemption. Creepy priests and totally witches (Zoya) who act like the mean girl in school on a much higher scale and everything rounds out. There are a lot of different characters and personalities in the first book alone. With all the personalities you also get the aspect of royal court. The good, bad, and ugly. Politics are not a joy to be thrust into. A new shinny toy to be played with and fought over. The intrigue there as well, the whole system between royalty, Grisha, and common folk was well explained and done. The overall story has a lot going for it with action, adventure, political intrigue, mystery, magic, and yes romance. Overall I was addicted and I wanted more. That's about all I can say right now without spoiling any of the good fun bits. I thought this book was amazing full of everything you want in a good high fantasy book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
mollyreads More than 1 year ago
This is a review for the whole trilogy I LOVE this trilogy. It is easily in my top 5.  The world Bardugo builds is so amazing. She put a lot of detail and work into creating Ravka and all of the inhabitants. It's incredible.  Alina is a pretty badass chick. She's conflicted with herself at times, but that's something I really enjoyed. It had you questioning what she was going to do, if she was going to become a villain or not. She even seemed conflicted about who she loved, which kept you on your toes to find out who she was going to end up with. I really enjoyed those mysterious aspects to the story. Her character was so complex to me & it was so interesting to read what she was feeling at that moment and how quickly it could change.  The story itself was well put together. It was very entertaining, there was something happening in almost every chapter. It's loaded with action, politics, betrayal, religion, magic(powers), science, monsters and romance. I don't think you can ask for anything else from a trilogy! I mean really, what didn't this book have? But it is put together in such a wonderful way that it all makes sense!  This is an amazing trilogy & I would recommend it to everyone!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
quibecca More than 1 year ago
I just saw a fellow blogger say "why did I wait so long to start a series"....well I am saying that right now.  I have had this series on my self since the last book came out.  Dang, why didn't I start it right away??? This book grabbed me from the very beginning.  Two orphan kids living together, becoming best friends, just to be taken away from each other to learn where their abilities would best suit their nation.  Mal and Alina.   They are about to find out just how hard life can be. Alina is taken away to be trained as a member of the Grisha.  She has a power that no one has seen before.  The Darkling believes that she is the one who is going to help save their nation.   Alina finds out she has power within her she never knew she had.  When she finally embraces it, she realizes what a beautiful thing it could be.  Alina is convinced by the Darkling that she is the one he has been searching for to save their nation and to take them through the dreaded Fold.   Alina is trained in combat and taught how to call upon her power when needed, and finally feels alive.  The Darkling is looking for an amplifier for her powers.  There are trackers sent out to find this mysterious stag so they can cut off his antlers, and make Alina's amplifier the greatest there is. When trackers are hired to find this stag, they come to the Darkling to go over their plans.  Mal.  Alina's lost friend is the tracker.  They see each other and the world seems to come full circle for the two of them...Until Alina realizes the Darkling may be using her for a much more sinister reason. This story was so exciting to me from the beginning to the end.  Alina's life is fascinating and scary all at the same time.  Mal, is a great character who I cannot help but love.  He is so happy to have found Alina and their friendship starts off right where it left off.   I loved the intensity of this book.  It was hard to put down.  I am still wondering why I took so long to start it.  I am anxious to continue the series to see where the rest of the stories takes me.  The ending leaves me definitely wanting more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago