Hey guys! Review time!
I recently finished reading Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. It is the first book in the Grisha trilogy. I really enjoyed the book, but before I get into the specifics, here is a synopsis of the book from Goodreads if you don’t know much about it:
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.
So, I’ve been thinking maybe I should do reviews in a slightly more ordered fashion. However, today is not the day for that 😂. So, below you’ll find a mostly spoiler-free rant about what I thought!
I decided to pick up this book because I had heard so much about it! The hype was pretty high, and I figured it was a good time to read as the entire trilogy has been released. I also want to read the companion series, the first of which being Six of Crows, but I’ve been told that that book makes a bit more sense if you’ve read the Grisha first. I’d also tried to read this book a couple times in the past, but I couldn’t get into it. So, while my expectations were high in some ways, I wasn’t sure if they should be.
However, long story short, I shouldn’t have worried. I loved how the main heroine, Alina, goes from weak and meek to a badass powerful Grisha. I loved the twists in the plot that I didn’t expect because I was absorbed in the lovely writing style. I also really liked the Russian influences in the book, although I think some of them could have been executed a bit better (although I’m no culture expert). I felt that the plot was well paced and wasn’t overwhelmed with world-building details, although I don’t think it lacked world-building either. I was able to imagine a vivid world of magic and strange lands. This was the type of fantasy that I love. A romance to cheer for with a twist, a mysterious darkness closing in on the land, and characters you aren’t sure if you should love or hate. The Darkling was a very intriguing character. As were a few of the other Grisha. At first glance their world seems bright and flawless. But as the story weaves in details, you start to question who can be trusted. However, I’ll say I didn’t exactly trust the right people 😉
So, If you’re looking for a strong series opener into a new world of fantasy, give this book a try! It gets a solid 4-stars from me. And I’ve heard the second and third installments are even stronger. I’m looking forward to see how Alina copes with her newfound strength. I hope she kicks ass. Because feminism.
Cheers, all! 💙