Title: Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Release Date: June 5, 2012
“What is infinite? The universe and the greed of men.”
Guess who finally showed up to the party 6 years late!
I had so much fun reading this that I could not put it down and I finished the entire thing in a day. I feel like I’m one of the last people on the planet to read this series, but I have no idea why I put it off for so long when I ended up loving it so much. Shadow and Bone follows orphaned cartographer apprentice Alina Starkov as unknown powers are revealed and she discovers she may be the key to healing a centuries long riff in Ravka.
Things I Liked
The Darkling is fantastic and I love him, but I don’t trust him. And that’s part of the reason that I love him. I can’t see the true motives behind his actions – is he trying to gain more power, is he trying to better the lives of other Grisha, is he trying to gain power (and favor) by bettering the lives of other Grisha. Is he doing the right thing for the wrong reasons? Is he doing the wrong thing for the right reasons? There’s just so much to unpack and I can’t wait to see more.
There were so many fantastic character dynamics in this series. I loved Alina and Mal’s pure and unexpected feelings based on a childhood friendship. Alina and The Darkling are two sides to the same coin and have this chemistry and tension that is both mesmerizing and terrifying. I loved seeing Alina interact with everyone at the Little Palace – the distrust, longing, and jealousy all conflicting and competing created some great scenes. I thought Alina’s teachers were great – I loved their no-nonsense attitudes and their gruff exteriors.
I really loved the mythology and Russian influence in the story. The Grisha world is so full and felt explored – I learned about the Grisha system, the non-powered people, the ruling class, the conflicts, the culture. I felt like I knew where the story took place. I don’t know what it is about Russian-inspire fantasy stories, but I just love them so much and this one was no different. Maybe because historical Euopean settings arent’t my favorite, but these stories always feel fresh and different.
Things I Didn’t Like
All of the secondary characters were underdeveloped or one dimensional. They were just props in the story not their own characters, and I don’t have any feelings or attachments to them. I know this is book 1 in a series, so I’m expecting at least some of the characters to be fleshed out more in future books.
I deeply enjoyed this story and world that Leigh Bardugo has created. While this type of fantasy story isn’t anything new, I didn’t need it to be. The characters, worldbuilding, and relationships were so well done, I was transported to Ravka. Shadow and Bone is an amazing introduction to a rich and complex world that I can’t wait to visit again and again.
If you could chose a Grisha power what would it be? What’s your favorite book in Leigh’s Grisha verse? Share below!