Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy Series #1)by Leigh Bardugo
Enter the Grishaverse with Book One of the Shadow and Bone Trilogy by the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom.
Soldier. Summoner. Saint. Orphaned and expendable, Alina Starkov is a soldier who knows she may not survive her first trek across/i>/b>/i>/b>/i>/b>/i>/i>/b>/b>/i>
Enter the Grishaverse with Book One of the Shadow and Bone Trilogy by the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom.
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.
A New York Times Bestseller
A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
An Indie Next List Book
This title has Common Core connections.
Praise for the Grishaverse
“A master of fantasy.” —The Huffington Post
“Utterly, extremely bewitching.” —The Guardian
“The best magic universe since Harry Potter.” —Bustle
“This is what fantasy is for.” —The New York Times Book Review
“[A] world that feels real enough to have its own passport stamp.” —NPR
“The darker it gets for the good guys, the better.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Sultry, sweeping and picturesque. . . . Impossible to put down.” —USA Today
“There’s a level of emotional and historical sophistication within Bardugo’s original epic fantasy that sets it apart.” —Vanity Fair
“Unlike anything I’ve ever read.” —Veronica Roth, bestselling author of Divergent
“Bardugo crafts a first-rate adventure, a poignant romance, and an intriguing mystery!” —Rick Riordan, bestselling author of the Percy Jackson series
“This is a great choice for teenage fans of George R.R. Martin and J.R.R. Tolkien.” ?RT Book Reviews
Read all the books in the Grishaverse!
The Shadow and Bone Trilogy
(previously published as The Grisha Trilogy)
Shadow and Bone
Siege and Storm
Ruin and Rising
The Six of Crows Duology
Six of Crows
The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic
A New York Times Bestseller
“Set in a fascinating, unique world rich with detail, Shadow and Bone was unlike anything I've ever read.” Veronica Roth, New York Times bestselling author of Divergent
"Bardugo crafts a first-rate adventure, a poignant romance, and an intriguing mystery all in one book!" Rick Riordan, bestselling author of the Percy Jackson series
“Rich, satisfying, and gorgeous, laced with heart-pounding action and pitch-perfect romance.” Cinda Williams Chima, bestselling author of the Seven Realms series and the Heir series
“Mesmerizing. . . . Bardugo's set up is shiver-inducing, of the delicious variety. This is what fantasy is for.” New York Times Book Review
“The top fantasy book to read this year.” The Huffington Post
"The darker it gets for the good guys, the better." Entertainment Weekly
“Romantic and magical . . . Plenty of plot twists and betrayals kept us enjoying this richly crafted adventure until the very last page. (P.S. A do-not-miss for fans of Graceling.)”Justine magazine
“Fast-paced and unpredictable, this debut novel will be a hit with readers who love dark fantasy.” School Library Journal, starred review
“This gripping debut novel, with a touch of magic and romance . . . will keep readers burning the midnight oil.” Shelf Awareness
"Danger and duplicity abound . . . in this lavish portrayal of a country reminiscent of Imperial Russia." VOYA
“A rich fantasy landscape, an inspired magical structure, and a gratifying emotional hook keep the pages whirring by until a final twist upends assumptions and lands us smack in the middle of a harrowing climax. ” Horn Book Magazine
“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.” Publishers Weekly
“The plotting is powerful.” Kirkus Reviews
“Bardugo weaves a captivating spell with lushly descriptive writing, engaging characters, and an exotic, vivid world. Readers will wait impatiently for the next installment.” Booklist
“A well-drawn world, full of deceit and mythology, populated by entirely believable characters. Full of truly surprising twists and turns, beautiful imagery and a protagonist it's impossible not to root for, this is a great choice for teenage fans of George R.R. Martin and J.R.R. Tolkien.” RT Book Reviews
“This is one book series you want to get hooked on.” Seventeen.com
Read an Excerpt
Shadow and Bone
By Leigh Bardugo
Henry Holt and CompanyCopyright © 2012 Leigh Bardugo
All rights reserved.
STANDING ON THE EDGE of a crowded road, I looked down onto the rolling fields and abandoned 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."
"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 the palm 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."
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 its whitewashed 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 from my 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's tents, guarded by Corporalki Heartrenders and the Darkling's personal guard.
Excerpted from Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. Copyright © 2012 Leigh Bardugo. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
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.
Meet the Author
Leigh Bardugo was born in Jerusalem, raised in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. She is fond of glamour, ghouls, and costuming, and gets to indulge all of these fancies in her other life as a makeup artist. She can occasionally be heard singing with her band, Captain Automatic.
Leigh Bardugo is the #1 New York Times- and USA Today-bestselling author of Crooked Kingdom, Six of Crows and the Grisha Trilogy: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising. She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and most recently, makeup and special effects. These days, she lives and writes in Hollywood, where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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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.
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.
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!
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.
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.....
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
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
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!
Perfectly crafted world. Original plot. Authentic, intriguing characters. A VILLAIN TO KILL FOR. Beautiful. Just. Beautiful.
I FEEL IN LOVE WITH THIS BOOK! I HAD TO KEEP TELLING MYSELF TO STOP SKIPPING PAGES ( IT WAS THAT GOOD) THIS BOOK IS ABOUT A GIRL NAMED ALINA WHO HAS A HUGE CRUSH ON HER BEST FRIEND MALYIN ( MAL ). BUT IN A NEAR DEATH EXPRIENCE WITH HER CRUSH SHE THEN...SNAPS AND SOMETHING MAGICAL OCCURS! SHE IS TAKEN AWAY FROM HER LOVE AND LIVES WITH DARKLING ( KINGS SECOND HAND MAN) AND MUST LEARN HOW TO CONTROL HER MAGICAL POWER AND WORK WITH THE DARKLING TO SAVE RAVKA. BUT CAN SHE? THE AUTHOR DID A GREAT JOB WITH PLOT ( BY THE WAY IT'S RUSSIAN THEME ) THE AUTHOR MADE U WAN TO READ THE BOOK AND NEVER WANT IT TO END! UNFORNATLY I RECOMMEND THIS TO 13 AND UP. IT HAS INAPPERITE LANG AND SOME SEXAUL CONTENT. BUT I WILL SAY THIS...I CANT WAIT FOR THE 2ND BOOK!!! :)
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.
Not as in depth, detailed, exotic, or well written as Throne of Glass... but still very good, and gives a fresh story and new concepts in a market that currently seems to be drowning in repetitive garbage. A definite B+ and I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
I absolutely loved this book, along with the second and third books that follow. Great characters, great stories and the author built a great world. If you like these books, I would high recommend A Gathering of Shadows by V.E Schwab (the trilogy).
4.5 stars The world of the Grisha is such an interesting thing. So many different and cool powers/gifts. Of course in each group there’s ones that are more powerful but then there’s the Darkling that is in his own very lonely group. So which does Alina fall in? I would say both except better (since gooder isn’t a word lol). Speaking of the Darkling....I liked the Darkling when he was first introduced. He was mysterious and I thought he was the ‘misunderstood’ villain then nope! He did the jerkiest thing ever. So much for crushing on him. lol. Alina I really liked. She nice, awesome, and funny. I love her relationship with Mal. I really enjoyed the story. I found it had a nice flow to it. The story has betrayal, amazing powers, truth to the fold and the creepy creatures that inhabit it, kissing, narrowing escape, and all around awesomeness. Looking forward to continuing it.
Really cool, unique fantasy drawing from Russian culture, which is something I haven't seen before. Plus a great reluctant heroine--I loved seeing her grow into her power and herself
I don't know what went wrong with me for this book. Maybe I was comparing it to much to Six of Crows, which is now the standard I compare all fantasy books with? I know they're by the same author, so I guess I was expecting something of the same story. However, this book is so far from Six of Crows, it's best if you don't think of that book at all. This story takes us into the the Grishaverse yet again but from a new angle. We're in Ravka, a place that reminds you what a fantasyland Russia would be like complete with magical people - Grisha - who rule over the common people in their fancy robes and kickbutt powers. There is an enigmatic place called the Shadow Fold that is a dark part of Ravka where creepy vulture-like things (I kept imagining these weird one eye massive turkey like things so not very scary for me) kill you as you try to cross this near-black land. Our heroine, Alina, is forced to cross it for her job, and as the vulcra are killing her friends and trying to kill her, a great light comes and saves them all. Did she do that? Is she a Grisha? One of the most powerful Grisha to live and save them all from the Shadow Fold? Perhaps, it would have been far more helpful if I actually read the summary or anything about it before I started to read it. I went into this book, not knowing anything, in order to satisfy my Leigh Bardugo feels. It still had her beautiful writing style and wonderfully crafted world - how on earth does she create this stuff?? - but it was lacking quite a bit in other regards. The main reason, possibly, that I had so many issues with it was the main character. Unlike her other books, I didn't feel much for Alina. I liked her well enough, but I never truly cared what happened to her or what she was feeling. I didn't care if she was having struggles with her powers or if she was sad because her instructors made her work much. Towards the last 40% of the book, I did care about her a bit more, but I still didn't have that dedication I should have had for a main character. She felt a bit too cookie cutter for me, and that was a problem. I did really like Genya, though, so hopefully she makes more appearances as the storyline goes on. I also felt the plot became a bit disjointed. I wasn't sure for a while what the storyline was. Was it about the Shadow Fold? Was it about her presence as a Sun Summoner? Was it the romance? Near the end, the stag? I didn't have a solid line, and it made me hesitant to continue with it. I wasn't as enthralled with it as I was by her previous book. I guess all my main reasons I found this book is lacking is because I couldn't stop myself from comparing it to Six. That book is one of my favorites of all times, and since it is set in the same universe, I expected the same things from the book. It's a whole different storyline, group of people - not as morally questionable although the Darkling sure is up there - and even a different setting. I think it would have been better if I had read this before I read that series, since I couldn't have compared it. This really isn't a bad book. Leigh Bardugo just don't have that ability to do it, it seems. I think a lot of people will like this. It has romance, it has action, it has an amazingly lush setting, it has some good funny bits, and it has a well-executed and beautifully unique concept. It has a lot of merits. It just didn't fit with what I wanted out of this book. https://bookprincessreviews.wordpress.com/
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo is the start of the Grisha Trilogy about two orphans, Alina and Mal. Alina and Mal are being interviewed by Grisha as children, then the story jumps ahead to their young adulthood. Mal is a tracker in the army and Alina is an assistant to a cartographer. The army is crossing The Fold, a place where monsters called Volcra live. Volcra attack and Mal and Alina protect each other. As the Volcra claw at her back, Alina lights up. She's suspected of being a Sun Summoner and people will want her to light up The Fold so traveling can be safer and ports can be used once again. The Darkling takes Alina to Os Alta for her safety, her training and to serve the kingdom. Alina feels like she doesn't fit into this life any better than her last dwelling and job as a mapmaker. She hasn't seen Mal since she was taken to the palace. Alina has a revelation as a forgotten memory resurfaces. Alina's power comes forth and as her power grows, it becomes easier for her to call upon and she learns who she can and cannot trust and who she truly loves. I like how the author has woven Russia into the story. Leigh Bardugo is an impressive author and her debut novel, Shadow and Bone, brought anxiety to my mind and tears to my eyes - 5 stars!
pooled ink Reviews: ...I NEED book 2. My brain can't even handle writing a review right now. Awesome. This book is awesome. There are many reasons why but I'm afraid you'll just have to wait because right now all I can think about it reading what happens next. Read my FULL review here: https://pooledink.com/2015/07/11/shadow-and-bone/
Great read! Heading to the library to pick up the other two now. Great characters, great plot, lots of twists and turns. Surprises aplenty. An excellent example of a YA Fantasy novel. It takes the tropes and runs with them until it doesn't. Bardugo throws surprises at the reader when you least expect it. Alina and Mal are childhood friends. They grow up in an orphanage run by the local Duke where they are tested to see if they can do magic at the age of 8 (neither tests positive.) They join the army (or are drafted, I am unsure) and are sent across The Fold, a dark and dead part of the country which is inhabited by murderous creatures. While in The Fold, one of them shows an unknown power. the person is taken away by The Grisha (people who can do what seems like magic to us) for training. After that any description would get spoilery.
There's a few reasons that I was disappointed with this book. Mainly it had to do with the lack of character development. Throughout the course of the plot I often found myself wondering why characters were making the choices they were making. The actions seemed out of character or the testimony that was taken as truth seem unreliable. I finished it but that's about the only reason it didn't get one star. The suspension of disbelief was just not there at all.
There was a nice twist i wasnt expecting, but the writing was kinda dry. Its hard to imagine what the mai character looks like because the only hints were given is that shes skinny/lanky.
This was an amazing book.
Shadow and Bone is a dark, twisted and whimsical story that involves a good handful of characters who embark on a fantastical journey of mind and spirit. To boot, the story features all of my favorite strengths: fantastic world-building, gutsy storytelling, awesome characters and an increasingly dark storyline that reaches one of the best climatic peaks I've ever encountered. Do not, under any circumstances, miss this! ___________________________________ WHAT I LIKED + Shadow and Bone is a book that teems with unconventional characters who are flawed and perfectly complex. I’m not sure that I have a favorite one at this point ―though The Darkling certainly left his impression on me ―but I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Alina (the protagonist) discover herself as the story progressed. One of the most affecting scenes for me was when she embraced her identity and chose to no longer suppress her own worth and power. “That grief flooded through me, dissolving a knot that I hadn’t even known was there. I closed my eyes, feeling tears slide down my cheeks, and I reached out to the thing within me that I’d kept hidden for so long. I’m sorry, I whispered to it. I’m sorry I left you so long in the dark. I’m sorry, but I’m ready now.” + Though plagued by terror and pain, the overwhelming vivacity of the Grisha world is absolutely phenomenal; it carries an appealing charm that is almost dream-like. What’s more, there is a huge amount of attention to detail that is clearly a labor of love. Everything to the dress attire, the structural buildings, the people and different locales, the action and battle scenes are beautifully rendered and picturesque. It goes without saying that while reading Shadow and Bone, I could only think of the passion and freedom Leigh Bardugo immersed herself in as she fashioned this world – I loved it! + Everything surrounding the romantic plotline was utterly delicious, but hopelessly tragic all the same. It held the perfect amount of tension and not once did it feel forced. Furthermore, and to my utter surprise, this love triangle actually worked! I found myself consistently siding with The Darkling, then instantly jumping sides with Mal, until I got to the one part where The Darkling stared into my soul Alina’s soul with his quartz gray eyes and said, “Fine,. . .make me your villain.” That’s when things got really complex; so much so, that *SPOILER* the whole betrayal left me shattered on the ground. I’m totally not even kidding, I didn’t snap out of my torpor for at least three days. *END SPOILER* + One more thing! The banter, dialogue and humor in this book was pure satisfaction! There were plenty of laugh-out-loud moments: “Dear Mal, I’d written. I haven’t heard from you, so I assume you’ve met and married a volcra and that you’re living comfortably on the Shadow Fold, where you have neither light nor paper with which to write. Or, possibly, your new bride ate both your hands." Moments that took my breath away: “There is something more powerful than any army. Something strong enough to topple kings, and even Darklings. Do you know what that is?” I shook my head, inching away from him. “Faith,” he breathed, his black eyes wild. “Faith.” Moments that made me cry: Full review @ http://www.mysoulcalledlife.com/2016/03/30/book-review-shadow-and-bone-by-leigh-bardugo/
I had been dying to dive into this series since so many people loved it, and once I saw it at the library, I snatched it up. This series is entirely its own, so you do have to pay attention and piece things together. I got confused a lot, with all of the action going on, and sometimes I felt there was too much happening at once. I did have to read some sentences over, and over, which got on my nerves quite a bit. I loved most of the characters in this book, but some of them made me want to throw the book down. There was never a slow moment in the plot and towards the end it sped up a lot!I enjoyed being in this world and felt like I was right there with Alina on her journey. I loved Leigh's writing, which was intriguing I enjoyed being in this world and felt like I was right there with Alina on her journey. I loved Leigh's writing, which was intriguing, beautiful, and well-worded. Three out of five stars to Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.