Thursday, June 7, 2012

Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
4/5 stars
Henry Holt and Company, 2012
356 pages
YA Fantasy

Source: Received an ARC from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review.

I have seen so many positive reviews of this around the blogosphere; it seems to have garnered a lot of attention and I feel comfortable adding my endorsement although I am not quite as enthusiastic about it as many other bloggers.

Don't get me wrong-I do love YA fantasy and I enjoyed this book a lot. However I guess I would say that it lacked that magical spark for me. I had trouble getting invested in the book and was very confused about the magical Grisha as introduced in the prologue. Still the writing style was easy and I flew through the pages. But when I closed the book, I almost felt like it could have been a standalone. I suppose the enemy is not completely defeated but the ending still felt pretty final to me. At the moment I don't feel compelled to beg for a copy of second book Siege and Storm although I will probably read it once other bloggers remind me that it is available.

There was nothing I hated about this book and in fact a lot I liked. I was very invested in main charachter Alina's romances, first a long-time flame for her best friend Mal (who reminded Small Review of Gale but me of Peeta) and then an attraction to the powerful and mysterious Darkling. One of them gives her a beautifully romantic speech about his love for her (shortly before the run-in with the stag for those who have read this) that made me absolutely swoon. So I really like the romantic aspects of this book without feeling like they were the main focus.

I also loved the magic once I had a better understanding of what it entailed and there was court intrigue, a soft spot for me. I really loved the parts with Alina learning the ropes of her power-her very unique ability to summon light, something that no one else can do, as well as her burgeoning friendship with Genya, forced into the position of servant and scorned by other Grisha.

Overall: An entertaining fantasy but one that failed to fully engage me. I like it but I can't write a gushing review for it.

Cover: I actually really like the ARC cover I have which is black with splatters of blood-this does make the story sound like it might be much creepier than it actually is. Whereas this cover evokes more of the beauty of Russia to me since the setting for this seems to be based on Russia.


  1. I've seen mixed reviews for this one. I am not sure I will read Shadow and Bone but I'm glad you liked it even with its flaws.

  2. Court intrigue always gets me.

  3. Mal was definitely more Peeta than Gale -- he was the sweet and charismatic type, although I guess he could be a little bit of both since Mal exceeded in hunting ;) I'm SO happy that you loved this book too, even though not as much as me (which is probably impossible anyways LOL)! I know the romantic speech you're talking about and I was definitely clutching my heart and sighing too x)

    Beautiful review, B! :) <3

  4. *sigh* the romance was so good in this book. I love how it was strong and an integral part of the book, but it also didn't overwhelm the plot. I'm glad you mentioned Genya. I've heard criticism about her character, but I liked her a lot and I think her story is sad. I would love to read a book from her perspective.

    Thank you for linking to me! Mmm, Mal is so swoonworthy :)

  5. Shadow and Bone is a dark young adult fantasy that is filled with mystery and political intrigue. The ending left me wanting more and I can't wait for the next books in this trilogy.


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