book review
3 Stars, Book Reviews

{REVIEW} Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo


by Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pub Date: Jun 5, 2012
Publisher: Square Fish
Length: 372 pages
Spoilers: Marked
Goodreads ♦ Amazon($6.70)



Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, she is sure of only one thing: her best friend, Mal–and her inconvenient crush on him. Until the day their army regiment enters the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. When their convoy is attacked and Mal is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power not even she knew existed.

Ripped from everything she knows, Alina is taken to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. With Alina’s extraordinary power in his arsenal, he believes they can finally destory the Fold. Now Alina must find a way to master her untamed gift and somehow fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. As the threat to the kingdom mounts and her dangerous attraction to the Darkling grows, Alina will uncover a secret that could tear her heart–and her country–in two.


I loved the magic in this book. It had a certain structure to it, which made it easy to follow and offered its own dynamic to the book. Even when I thought I had it figured out, another layer popped up. It was a great way to discover the fundamentals of magic.

This book had promise until the author threw in some of the most stereotypical cliches in the young adult genre. While being able to ignore some and finish the book, others came back to bite me.

The Dark Side
I love the way this novel plays with concepts of ‘darkness’ and ‘evil.’ Unlike many novels, it doesn’t leave them black and white, but adds a gradient to them, making it difficult to tell who is bad and who is good. The reader has to get to know the characters before they can understand them.

Plot Variation
Most novels pick one of the seven basic plots and stick to it. However, this book mixed a few together. It starts off as a rags to riches plot, quite in a Cinderella-esque fashion, but doesn’t stop there. The change in the plot and ability of the author to transfer the character’s focus adds to the overall draw of the book.


Alina Starkov is your stereotypical self-loathing, plain, uninteresting teenage girl, which is very frustrating. It’s for this reason that she doesn’t know who she is, has little faith in herself, and isn’t one for getting close to people or making friends. She also is unable to see herself as anything other than ordinary. Meanwhile, everyone else sees her as extraordinary.

Honestly, the beginning with the ‘rags to riches’ concept is done inappropriately. Not only does the MC, Alina, find out she has a magical power, but she’s the ONLY PERSON ON THE PLANET WHO HAS IT! -.- Yeah, that was frustrating for me because it’s stupid, overdone, and just… uninteresting. For this reason she becomes… dun dun dun… the savior. What else? *yawn*

Alina not being able to control her power was done well. She didn’t figure it out instantly. In fact, it took her sometime and a bit of self-exploration to really figure out why she can’t use her power. Now, we’re all set to go on our quest, but uh-oh, there’s a monster!

This! This was my favorite part because Alina was drawn to the mysterious, all-powerful Dark One (obviously because he’s handsome and alluring) and because he’s EVIL! YES! First off, we all saw that coming from a mile away. I mean, really? How could you not? Granted, the reasoning behind him being evil was a bit different than I suspected, but… symantics. I still loved the mentor becoming the antagonist. ^.^ *has a thing for the dark side*


finish the series

book recommendations

6 thoughts on “{REVIEW} Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo”

  1. It’s so frustrating when authors fall into clichés, but sometimes tricky to avoid when you’re writing in a genre – there are certain tropes you need to hit to make it the genre, but ideally in a fresh, different way that doesn’t feel like a cliché. Great review – thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah! I love your point, Claire, and I agree. Actually, one of the ways I judge a good author from a bad author (or inexperienced writer) is their ability to take a cliche and make it feel not like a cliche. When you can mask what you’re doing to make it seem new and fresh, then you’re doing it right. Haha! Those are my life goals for writing, but maybe I expect too much of writers. Who knows. :p


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