Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy Series #1)

Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy Series #1)

by Leigh Bardugo

Paperback(First Edition)

$7.14 $10.99 Save 35% Current price is $7.14, Original price is $10.99. You Save 35%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Want it by Monday, November 26 Order now and choose Expedited Shipping during checkout.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250027436
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication date: 05/07/2013
Series: Grisha Trilogy Series , #1
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 11,914
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About 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.

Read an Excerpt

Shadow and Bone


STANDING 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 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."

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 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.

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 around and 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.


"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

Reading Group Guide

1. Alina and Mal grew up in an orphanage in Kermazin. How does this relate to Alina's experiences at the Little Palace? To Mal's experiences in the First Army?

2. How is the Fold connected to the Darkling? What does it say about him and his power?

3. How does Alina feel about her power? How do her feelings change? Why?

4. What is the connection between Alina and the Darkling? What does Alina think of this connection at different points in the novel?

5. How are the Grisha talents like science? Why are other people afraid of what the Grisha can do?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Shadow and Bone 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 272 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.
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 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.....
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
Kylie-MyBookishThoughts More than 1 year 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 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.
Anonymous 9 days ago
readers_retreat 11 months ago
"Shadow and Bone" follows mapmaker, Alina, an orphan her whole life, who grows up and falls in love with her best friend, Mal. Both Alina and Mal are part of the King's first army. There are many things to fear in this world, not least the Fold, which is filled with darkness. Inside the Fold is where the merciless beasts known as Volcra reside. When her regiment is attacked Alina unleashes dormant magic that even she had no idea she possessed, showing that she is no ordinary girl, but a Grisha, and saves Mal's life in the process. This event captures a lot of attention including that from the Darkling who is surprised by her talent and wishes to send her away to train as a Grisha so she can become part of the King's second army led by the Darkling himself. This book not only met my expectations but surpassed them. There were so many great elements that it's almost impossible to remember them all! The world is creative and exciting, the characters are realistic and have flaws that us humans can relate to, the story is fast-paced with action aplenty and plot twists that make you read on and on until you reach the conclusion and then feel sad that it's over. I loved how connected I felt to the characters which is thanks to Ms Bardugo making them as believable and relatable as possible. In particular, I loved our protagonist, Alina, because she is a strong female lead, full of wit and wisdom and has a kind heart. My standout character though would have to be the inimitable Darkling, and even though he is the villian here, I found that the way he was written was pretty special. I appreciated that although he did have villianous qualities, he also had some noble ones. This complexity is often lacking in YA fiction characters but is much more reflective of real life, which is one of the reasons I liked the Darkling so much. Another aspect I admired was that the author defined the rules and limits of the Grishaverse from the outset but managed to do so without the reader feeling overwhelmed or as though they were swimming in a sea of information. This book came at the perfect time for me - it's summer and although i'm based in the UK the weather is unusually hot right now. This was the ideal antidote to the heat, lying in a cool room reading this from beginning to end in one sitting made me incredibly happy. All the tasks I was supposed to be doing were left until after I finished and even then I didn't want to carry them out as I quickly purchased "Siege and Storm" and continued to read until I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer. I will not be leaving it as long to dive into another Leigh Bardugo book, that is for certain! I've also added her to my rolecall of favourite authors. From what i've seen she is vastly underrated, she certainly shouldn't be though as her writing is as beautiful and magnetic as that in some of my all-time favourite books. Oh, and her one liners are simply majestic! I cannot forget to mention those. All in all, this is an authentic, emotional and drama-filled adventure that is well worth investing a few hours in. If you haven't already read this, I urge you to give it a go! Especially those who enjoy the fantasy genre, magic, well-developed characters, a world that is built spectacularly, and last but by no means least, an intriguing and engaging story. Many thanks to Orion Children's Books for an ARC. I was not required to post a review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a thrilling read with wonderful world building and charcters!
thebookishlibra More than 1 year ago
I originally skipped over Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse Trilogy in favor of reading the much-hyped Six of Crows duology, which is set in the same Russian-inspired fantasy world. I adored the Six of Crows books so much that I just had to go back and read the Grishaverse Trilogy because I loved this world and wasn’t ready to leave it behind. I’m so glad I did too because Shadow and Bone, the first book in the trilogy, was a truly wonderful read. I loved the complex cast of characters Bardugo has created. First, there’s Alina and Mal, orphans who were raised together and who may or may not have romantic feelings for one another. Having tested negative for Grisha powers when they were children, Alina and Mal are clearly underdogs in the war ravaged nation of Ravka and I became invested in their journey immediately, especially once their journey takes them across the dangerous Shadow Fold. A life-threatening incident on the fold changes their lives, however, because it reveals that Alina actually does possess dormant Grisha abilities. Not only are her abilities powerful, but they could actually be the key to setting Ravka free. I already knew a bit about the Grishaverse from Six of Crows, but I loved seeing the magical system in more detail and the lavish worldbuilding as Alina and Mal are brought to the Little Palace so that Alina can learn to master her powers under the teachings of my absolute favorite character, the Darkling. As much as I liked Alina and Mal, the Darkling was really the highlight of the first book for me. I’m a sucker for a complex, morally gray character and that most definitely describes the Darkling. On the one hand, he’s quite charming, but on the other, he’s manipulative, deceitful, and basically just flat out horrible. There are moments when he seems to really care about Alina, but most often, he only seems to be concerned with how he can harness her power for his own needs. Watching the Darkling go head to head with Alina were some of my favorite moments of the novel. Shadow and Bone was a quick and highly entertaining read for me because once I got started, and especially once I met the Darkling, I was hooked on trying to figure out what he was really up to and how Alina and her powers fit into his plans. I’m also glad I waited to read this until all three books had been released because a major plot twist at the end of this first book had me reaching straight for the second book. Love this series! 4.5 STARS
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
So I had heard a lot about this. A friend of mine recommended me this series. Finally got around to reading it and I liked. A lot. Despite it having some flaws, what with the MC, love triangle, etc. Otherwise I enjoyed reading this, the pacing, the setting and at times the writing style. Looking forward to reading the other books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TheKnightsWhoSayBook More than 1 year ago
I really like this book! It's a bit slow, but I don't mind slow fantasy books when the world is being set up. I really liked Alina and her grumpiness and sense of humor, even when she was being sort of naive. And I liked the range of characters at the Little Palace, from Genya to the more minor characters. There's so much potential for friendship development! But there's one big character I felt pretty ambivalent about: Mal. While I sort of got the feeling of their deep friendship by the end of the book, I wish it was easier to feel his and Alina's dynamic earlier on. And the romantic tension was just sort of bland. I'm not annoyed by it exactly, it just didn't make me feel much for them. It's super cool to read about Grisha magic, though, and Bardugo's descriptions are always so wonderful. Just reading about Alina and Genya getting ready for the ball makes me feel excited too. I felt like the end could have been more exciting if some things were done differently, but because i don't want to spoil anything I won't get into it. While this book fell flat in places, overall I really enjoyed it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didn't fall in love with the first book immediately because I'm more selective now with the books I consider to be worth real love. I actually grew to love the first book, I grew into it and learned it and became enveloped in it. The trilogy was unlike anything I've ever read, and it deserves respect that I don't know how to give. Usually, when I read a book that I fall in love with, I look up art on it and read what other people write about it and I just look for things related to it. I can't do that with these books because they are just. too. good. They're destroying me because they're worth so much and I can't figure out how to love them properly. I can't even rant about it like I rant about other books because it's worth more, I feel guilty even mentioning characters because they're too important to be referenced as "some book character". I can't express how deeply this pains me. I want to talk about The Darkling and Alina and Nikolai and Mal but I CAN'T. They're worth too much, the books were too good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didn't fall in love with the first book immediately because I'm more selective now with the books I consider to be worth real love. I actually grew to love the first book, I grew into it and learned it and became enveloped in it. The trilogy was unlike anything I've ever read, and it deserves respect that I don't know how to give. Usually, when I read a book that I fall in love with, I look up art on it and read what other people write about it and I just look for things related to it. I can't do that with these books because they are just. too. good. They're destroying me because they're worth so much and I can't figure out how to love them properly. I can't even rant about it like I rant about other books because it's worth more, I feel guilty even mentioning characters because they're too important to be referenced as "some book character". I can't express how deeply this pains me. I want to talk about The Darkling and Alina and Nikolai and Mal but I CAN'T. They're worth too much, the books were too good.
Sensitivemuse More than 1 year ago
I was so immersed in the book I didn’t even realize what time it was when I was halfway (about 2 AM in the morning.) Yes it was that good. I loved everything about it. The plot was fast moving and good - although it had some different elements, it is with the same template of: “Girl finds out she’s got extraordinary powers to make a difference in the world and is sent to a boarding school to enhance those skills”. Although it’s not any different from those types of books out there, the characters and the setting make up for it and provides an exciting read. It seems like the language is based on Russian words (correct me if I’m wrong here.) With the terminology and setting loosely based on the language. I found this pretty interesting and fun to read, it certainly does provide a particular theme and flavor to the novel which adds to the joy of reading the book. Character wise, I loved just about everyone in the book. Alina isn’t your typical character. She’s got a wry humor and has a tendency to be hard on herself. I really like her though. She’s not a damsel in distress, she’s a tomboy, but when push comes to shove she can look like a girly girl and enjoy it if she wants to. Her character develops throughout the book and she goes through some real tough times. She’s not whiny about it but she takes it all in almost to the point of admitting self defeat. I actually liked reading this about her. It’s makes her more human. *****spoilers below you’ve been warned***** Now who to choose? Mal or the Darkling? I fell for the Darkling. I really did. I loved his mystery and his charm and I wanted to kick myself in the butt for falling for him as hard as Alina did. He just HAD to be the bad one. Well, sometimes we just fall for the bad ones don’t we? ;) I liked Mal too though. He was everything you wanted in a guy friend about to be boyfriend. He was just as charming but he had the good boy persona on him. I’d have to say, Alina had some good prospects (if only the Darkling didn’t have such a horrible agenda.) Overall I loved this book and I’m definitely going to grab the second one. Can’t wait to see what happens!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Real twister. Good plot. Very unpredictable. Next book is even better
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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).
terferj More than 1 year ago
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.