Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy)

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Enjoyable, but Not Sticking
Shadow and Bone was nothing like what I expected. While I was expecting fantasy and a very old-Russian feel, I got so much more magic and adventure and not as much Russian.

I'm gonna be honest, I didn't LOVE this book the way many others did. I loved the book at first, but several months later I look back and realize it was just an okay book for me. It hasn't stuck in my head.

Alina was a pretty strong character. But there was nothing really remarkable there for me. And the Darkling was always skeevy and wrong to me, even though I wanted to like him so much. It was just too perfect, you know?

I really liked the world they were in. It was well crafted and complex and very interesting and different. It was fascinating and beautifully described. Definitely original and wonderful and I'd love to dive in there again.

I also really enjoyed the ending. Those last couple scenes really stand out to me as fantastic and action-y and insane and just...perfect. It made me eager to pick up book 2 and see where their lives go and how the events of book 1 follow them. And I really want to see more of Alina's world.

While this wasn't a major sticking book and I don't have a lot of passion (or memory) for it, I enjoyed Shadow and Bone and hope to read the sequel next year.

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Shadow and Bone review
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
I'm so glad everyone wouldn't stop singing the praises for this book, because I wouldn't have read it otherwise, and I'd never know what my life was missing.

I never planned to read this because I'm pretty wary of the fantasy genre in general. On top of that, it has all the cliches going for it: the girl who doesn't know the powers she has to save the world, the love triangle with one (very) bad guy and one nice guy/best friend, and the whole peasant-to-royalty situation. Despite my initial opinions, I decided to give it a chance after hearing all the positive reviews. And let me tell you, I'm so glad I decided to read it because Bardugo manages to do so much more with those cliches.

Let's talk about the love triangle. I wasn't really a big fan of Mal in the beginning. He already had Alina's affections (whether he knew it or not) and the advantage of Best Friend. I'm not really sure why that automatically made me unsympathetic to him, but it did. Plus, he's running all over the place chasing other girls, so there's that (I know, I know. Not really his fault.)
Anyway.
Then we have The Darkling. First of all, his name is kind of sexy. So he has that going for him. Then he has the whole Bad Boy thing going for him. Not in a I-ride-motorcycles-and-don't-care-about-anything way, it's more that he just has kind of sinister, forbidden air about him that should probably make me dislike him, but doesn't. The Darkling is new and just so freaking hot with his little touches and small signs of weakness towards Alina.
By the end, though, I was on Team Mal. The Darkling is still hot, though.

The thing is, it doesn't feel as much like a love triangles as others do. Though Alina does switch the object of her affections a few times, she's always firmly on one or the other. She starts out with feelings for now, but because of Things, decides to forget him and move on. Then comes The Darkling. Then more Things happen and Alina firmly directs her love to Mal again.

Next, we have the Girl With Secret Powers cliche. Admittedly, the formula is much like other stories, but there is one thing I really liked about Alina's situation; her powers are discovered, but then for quite a long time she's basically incapable of using them. She has to go through some growth before she can fully embrace and use her powers. Plus, the powers are all kind of neat. They remind me a bit of the bending from Avatar: The Last Airbender since they deal with the elements for the most part.

I'm not sure I'd call the rags to riches story ground-breaking or anything, but I enjoyed the way it was handled. Alina doesn't fit in at first, of course, but she slowly gets used to it and starts to get comfortable to her new life. I like that she still finds herself missing her old life as a mapmaker sometimes. She doesn't get a big head about the power and position, but she doesn't shun it either.

The Nutshell: Basically, read this. If you don't think you'll like it, read it anyway. The love triangle is done in a way that doesn't entirely lend itself to "teams" and I found myself being swept along with Alina when it came to both romances. The Grisha powers themselves are also interesting and I enjoyed learning about them. I'd love to see more in the sequel, especially where it concerns The Darklings powers as I find them fascinating.

Direct Hit
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One of the Best Books of 2012
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
There's a category of fantasy that seems particular to YA fiction. It requires no sequel or series (note: it may have them anyway), though it builds a world rich and complete enough to sustain epics. It's built on fairy tales and legends, or the sense of them, and combines romance with adventure in a way that embraces magic as something inherent in nature.

Most readers would agree that it began with Robin McKinley, and it's been sustained by Shannon Hale's Goose Girl, Kristin Cashore's Graceling (which, for the record, I did not like), and more recently Rae Carson's Girl of Fire and Thorns. There are more - Mette Ivie Harrison, Jessica Day George, Sarah Beth Durst, and some with only two names - though there are degrees to each of them. Graceling, for example, features a less accessible heroine than Girl of Fire and Thorns, though the latter is higher fantasy.

Even within an author's canon, there are degrees (Shannon Hale's Book of a Thousand Days is stronger than Goose Girl, though they're both excellent, and Jessica Day George's titles are more playful with this category than others). The strength of each is not in the magic of their fantasy, but in their characters. Magic becomes a burden as well as a gift. Victory over the enemy - which is often a seductive enemy, harnessing its own brand of magic - comes at the last possible moment. It also comes as a last ditch effort of sacrificial strength.

If this seems like a strange way to define a category, just take a look at the titles I'm talking about. They all do something like this: Unlikely heroine discovers a position or power that seems bigger than her, must learn that her inner strength is greater than the mystical strength of her enemies. It's not cliche; it's good fiction.

Shadow and Bone does this. Shadow and Bone does this better than a lot of other books.

Alina and Mal grew up together as orphans, were conscripted into the army together, and have stayed friends despite their very different positions. Alina is a mapmaker; Mal is a tracker. Alina is weak and awkward; Mal is strong and handsome. They are utterly different, but they are best of friends.

Until Mal is almost killed trying to save Alina in the Shadow Fold, and Alina discovers her own power. It's a power she didn't ask for and does not want, the source of her own weakness and the potential for great strength. It's proof of just how different they are, and it will tear them apart - perhaps forever.

Leigh Bardugo has answered whatever call Robin McKinley and those of her ilk have sounded into the vast reaches of the writer's ether. Shadow and Bone is fantasy at its best, displaying a Russian landscape of magic and legend almost as rich as the characters that move in it. This is a book to loan friends but demand that they return. It's hands down one of the best books of the year. And if you need any more convincing, the cover art is beautiful enough to frame.
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Book Review: Shadow and Bone
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
READ MY FULL REVIEW HERE: http://theroundtheclockperuser.blogspot.com/2015/07/book-review-shadow-and-bone.html
Good Points
If I am going to be honest right from the get-go, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo is one hell of a fantastic adventure. It follows the story of an orphan named Alina Starkov, who is taken from obscurity and her only friend, Mal, to become one of the Darkling's apprentice. He takes her to the Little Palace to provide her some shelter as she trains her power to summon the Sun. But everything is not what Alina is led to believe . . .
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A Great Start!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
We follow Alina, a young girl who was taken in by the Duke. She has no family. She finds a friend Mal, they are everything to each other. But he's great at everything and she's nothing special. All that changes when they have to cross the fold and her Grisha power is unleashed.

Things change fast for Alina. She's pulled away from the First Army by the Darkling (Swoon) and starts to uncover a dark plot.

This was a very fast, entertaining read. I enjoyed it so much! I read as fast as I could, just hoping to dig deeper into this world. I needed more about the Darkling. I'm in total love with him. I do think it's a bit overhyped so that's why I gave it four and a half stars. I expected more. I thought I was going to be blown away by this book and that didn't happen. I was blown away by the Darkling though! I really love him.

I can't really point out what I disliked, maybe it was how Alina was so drawn into herself. She's not a bad person but she thinks of herself so lowly. Like she's less than everyone else and I don't like that. It was sad to see but she did slowly start to change as the book went on and that was awesome. I love character development.

I don't really care for Mal. He's had years to confess and tell Alina how he feels and yet he's too busy sleeping with Zoya and not caring until Alina is taken from him. Dumb boy. He's too used to having her around that he took her for granted. I hope she doesn't get with him. I hope she's smarter than that.

I'm still wondering where the Darkling falls. Is he truly evil? Misunderstood? I must know! Honestly, I'll be reading the rest of this series just for him. Not even kidding. He's worth it.

The world building is top notch, I love the dark feel of this book. The side characters are wonderful as well. Overall, a quick, fun, and action packed book. If you've not read this series yet, pick it up! You'll love it!
Good Points
1) Sucks you in quickly

2) Fun and fast paced
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a stunning world that you have to read about!!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
his next review is a book by a woman who not only pays attention to detail by being a makeup artist in hollywood, but also pays attention to detail in her debut novel, Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo. the story is about Alina Starkov, a gifted girl who apparently has powers she didn't know she even had. powers that could save her war-ravaged country free. the regiment that Alina is in gets attacked and her best friend, Mal, is brutally injured..Alina's powers are shown for the first time. i'm not going to go into detail because i don't want to give anything away as i want you to enjoy this book as much as i did. but i will tell you this much....when Alina's power is shown she is whisked away from everything she has ever known and taken to the "Little Palace" where she is to be trained as a member of the 'Grisha' the magical elite led by the mysterious and dangerous Darkling. this book was a great book to read. i enjoyed how the author wrote details so beautifully. sometimes i think authors write details so much and i'm like "oh my god come on already! lets get one with the story!" NOT WITH THIS ONE!! this was beautiful and flowing but at the same time w/ the war theme it was dramatic and sad, all your emotions are played in this story, and the ending....well....all i can say is....READ IT!!!
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Unique
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Shadow and Bone is the story about Alina Starkov and how her new discover power led to become train to be a Grisha and meet the mysterious Darkling.
I just stepped into a dark, mysterious, and scary place and I loved every part of it. This book is something completely different from what I have read. The plot is wonderful, all the twists and turns work magnificently. Leigh Bardugo is such a great story teller. Shadow and Bone has everything a good book should have: mystery, action, humor, romance, betrayals, an awesome setting, cool characters, unexpected twists. Such a well-written book that it was painful to put it down. I absolutely felt in love with the Darkling, he truly is something. The Grisha have the "magic" the makes me thing of the Full metal alchemist, they control the elements. It so unique to read about these mysterious beautiful looking people. I loved the connection between Alina and Mal. And a little of romance can't hurt no one. I really enjoy Shadow and Bone can't wait to start reading Siege and Storm (book two on the Grisha triology). Also, I can't hardly wait to watch the movie, Who could be the Darkling? Mal? Alina?.
Shadow and Bone made me feel like I was in some type Russian scary myth. I loved it, seriously a must read trilogy. 5 Darkling Stars
Good Points
Everything
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Wonderfully imaginative
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
From the first sentence, I was quickly drawn into the world of Ravka. The book begins quickly and never slows down, leaving me at the edge of my seat at all times. The plot was so well done, and I was so easily wrapped up in the story that the plot twist completely took me by surprise. By the time I hit the ~50% mark I found that I couldn’t tear myself away from the story, and now I’m kicking myself for not buying the sequel.

The world of Ravka is wonderfully imaginative. It’s a welcome change from the typical setting of “the middle ages,” and the elements of Russian folklore that are weaved into the world are a really nice touch. While the language and the Grisha hierarchy take a little bit of time to get used to (you have no idea how proud I was when I finally got the hang of it), they add to the magic and mystery that makes Ravka so intriguing.

I think it goes without saying that the writing is wonderful. The descriptions are vivid and I could easily visualize the Grisha world. It certainly helps that there’s a map at the beginning of the book, though the detailed descriptions kept me from having to tear myself away from the story and check it. And the romance! I found myself swooning over all the fictional men, since all of those scenes are just so well-written.

All of the characters were very well-developed. I can’t say too much about them since I don’t want to spoil anything, but they all had distinct personalities and I loved them all so much. Alina is naive, weak, and rather self-conscious at the beginning, but by the end of the book she has undergone a journey of self-discovery and becomes a force to be reckoned with. I loved her loyalty and determination, and I can’t wait to see how her character deals with certain conflicts in the sequel. Mal is sweet, loyal, brave, and protective. If it weren’t for the fact that he didn’t truly notice Alina until she was gone and the fact that I completely ship Alina and the Darkling I probably would have liked him a lot more though, admittedly, he did start to grow on me near the end. And then there’s the Darkling. It took less than two scenes for me to become hopelessly fascinated by his personality, power, and the mystery surrounding him. If there’s ever a novella written from his perspective, I can guarantee that I’ll be the first in line for it.

I absolutely loved Shadow and Bone, and I can’t recommend it enough. Go on, read it – you certainly won’t regret it.
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Amazing!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
I loved this book, it was amazing. I liked the story, it was very interesting and kept me interested, which made me want to keep reading it.

Shadow and Bone is about Alina. While she is crossing the fold and Mal, Alina's best friend and crush is attacked and hurt. Alina saves him and passes out. When she wakes up she finds out that she is Grisha, a sun summer which she doesn't believe to be true.

She is then taken to the Little Palace. While she is there she doesn't think that she belongs there and wants to go back to Mal.

Alina and the Darkling get closer through the book and he tells her how he wants to destroy the Fold and how she with help him to do it together with the stag antlers. Though it turns out the Darkling is using Alina and was also the one to create the Fold, which he said he wanted to destroy. Though in realty he wants to control the Fold and he is able to with Alina and the Stag's antlers.

For some odd reason I started to like the Darkling even though he turns out to be the villain at the end. Which made me sad, but I still like him. I loved this Book and I can;t wait to read the second book.
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My dream book come to life!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo is pretty much my dream book. Cultivated from the richness of the Russian language, and perhaps customs—though I’m not certain, this fantasy brings me joy beyond imagining. Leigh Bardugo is the map that leads us to the treasure trove, as each word is spun gold, each place are brilliant gems, but king among them is the diamond and perfect, dazzling shards are scattered to live in each character. Love is either dark temptation or a rightness that shone, and the romance is everything I thought I wouldn’t want and came to desperately need as I realized the rightness of this him and her that had been a package deal since the beginning. I thank Bardugo profusely for this gift she has crafted with talented hands and so much heart, leading me to clutch this book tightly for the treasure it is and silently curse the fates for an elusive sequel that is well out of reach.

It’s nerve-wracking to attempt to give an explanation as to why this novel is so necessary to everyone and their constantly-growing bookshelves. Especially since every moment is pure pleasure, a knife that cut through the fatigue I had been feeling with little effort behind the invisible hand that confidently wielded it. Boredom could not touch me; my interest remained unshakeable no matter the interruptions, such as a grumbling belly, tired eyes, and an angry bladder. Everything outside of magic lessons with ancient masters of the small sciences, battling against violent birdlike cannibals, and the whereabouts of a certain oblivious best friend and the secrets and mysteries of another who waits in the wings paled into pitiful insignificance. Bardugo’s world seduces us into a trance that allows us to truly see what has been tamed to paper.

Alina Starkov could be an annoying heroine, one whom our affection resists, but, in spite of how frustrating she can be, she is entirely relatable and wonderful, an honest creation that strikes down our reluctance with her loneliness and sacrifices and the unrequited love that has dominated her life for years now. Her presence, in the beginning, is often taken for granted, especially by the one person she loves more than anything, a man who has been her best friend for nearly as long as she can remember, and when brightness exposes her it is siphoned from a future where the two could remain inseparable. It’s painful, reading as Alina is brutally stripped from the only home she’s ever known, the only person she’s ever truly loved in just about every which way a person can love. Fear doesn’t take away her personality, but as her circumstances continue to lose light, in which she is forced out of anonymity and made to be an idol to depend on, her journey to herself pulls her away from the memory of what was, and that is agonizing and exhilarating all at once.

Accompanying Alina as she grows into and adopts the skin of the person she was always meant to be is more than enough to immerse us into her story, since she is a character that is understandable and is a magnet for compassion. Magic lessons, court politics, and assassins shadowing her footsteps are enough to keep anyone busy and engaged. And with this newfound life comes the presence of an enigmatic, all-powerful magical being that urges her to take to this new life, and has us and Alina sorely tempted to let ourselves be whisked away into the now compelling dark.

We come to play right into Bardugo’s hands as we are firmly caught in her iron web and shocked at the revelation. The mysteries we’ve been attempting to understand make sense for only a moment, before the outcome is rudely snatched away and turned on its head so that we are confused and appalled once more, because it’s impossible to prepare for a surprise blow like the one dealt to us. The sense of injustice is fierce, as we were left in the dark for so long and were less than clever enough to detect the truth. Although there is room for much more given the turn of events, Shadow and Bone ends in one final flawless swipe and we don’t even realize the story is truly over because we are already absently reaching for what should be next. It isn’t until we come up empty-handed that we realize our predicament: we are without the next chapter and will be forced to endure its absence until Bardugo is ready.

Looking for books with a similar feel? Try checking out Howl's Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones and Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken.

Originally posted at Paranormal Indulgence, 5/21
Good Points
my thoughts in a few sentences:Shadow and Bone is the book I couldn’t get out of my head once it arrived on my doorstep, the one I badly wanted to read, and all others I had tried to start suffered because of this hunger for a story that was not them. Finally, I gave up reluctance and waiting and picked it up on a late evening, and my eyes were dry, sore, and brutally red, but firmly aware, by the time I looked up from the final page only to note that dawn was coming. My internal clock didn’t feel the blows until long after because the story, even after the pages relented and Bardugo’s own siren song buried in her beautiful story, which had called me back, faded, my mind was still trapped in the memory of absorbing the events on each page. I haven’t been so thoroughly captured in a long time.
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