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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Guest review from Meabh, fantasy book lover ;)
As I never read fantasy or sci-fi books, I asked my good friend and fantasy lover Meabh to review this trilogy for me. This is the first part and reviews for the next two installments will follow shortly..............

Shadow and Bone is the first book in the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. It follows the journey of Alina, a young, lonely orphan who discovers...
Published 10 months ago by bleachhouselibrary

versus
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing after all the hype
Now, where to start my review of this book. So many people have absolutely loved this book and it has countless gushing reviews on Goodreads, however, for me this book was incredibly disappointing. In saying that, I did not hate this book, nor was I bored by the story and so I finished the book in no time. However, there are so many aspects to this book that disappointed...
Published 18 months ago by The Irish Bookworm


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Guest review from Meabh, fantasy book lover ;), 22 Aug. 2014
As I never read fantasy or sci-fi books, I asked my good friend and fantasy lover Meabh to review this trilogy for me. This is the first part and reviews for the next two installments will follow shortly..............

Shadow and Bone is the first book in the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. It follows the journey of Alina, a young, lonely orphan who discovers she has an extraordinary power. The characters in this book are beautifully written and I had great empathy for Alina from the very first page when she's described as an "ugly little thing". As the story is told mainly from Alina's point of view she is of course the most well rounded character however, even the minor characters are three-dimensional and realistic. From the Darkling, a seductive, powerful and mysterious figure to Nadia and Maria who are shallow and gossipy, Bardugo really captures both the good and bad points of people.

Shadow and Bone is a brilliantly written fantasy. It is wonderfully descriptive without being overly descriptive. The story moves at a good pace and I found myself eagerly turning the pages to find out what was going to happen next. Whether you're a fan of action, adventure, magic or romance this book has it all!

My favourite thing about this book is that it was in no way predictable. Just as I got a handle on what was happening and thought I could predict the outcome there would be a twist and I was once again left in a state of pleasurable uncertainty.

Though I believe this was originally marketed as a YA book, I would have no problem in recommending it to any fantasy lover. I would rate Shadow and Bone 4.5/5
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing after all the hype, 8 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Shadow and Bone: The Grisha 1 (Paperback)
Now, where to start my review of this book. So many people have absolutely loved this book and it has countless gushing reviews on Goodreads, however, for me this book was incredibly disappointing. In saying that, I did not hate this book, nor was I bored by the story and so I finished the book in no time. However, there are so many aspects to this book that disappointed me. I am first going to begin by telling you what made me pick this book up in the first place. One of the first places I heard this book mentioned was on Regan's youtube channel (PeruseProject). She showed the book during a haul, describing it as a story based around magic and the Russian culture.As I had not yet read a book involving Russian elements I was intrigued and wanted to check the book out on Goodreads. This seemed to be a love or hate book for most, but mostly love and so I went with the hype and picked up the book. Unfortunately with hype comes high expectations and for me, the book just did not live up to them. There were several aspects to the story that bothered me and these will be outlined below.

Firstly, I found the link to Russian culture confusing. The only way I saw this book to have Russian elements was in the names of the people and places. The world building was seriously lacking in this story. Before picking up the book I imagined the setting to be a medieval Russia (and here is where I have to admit my knowledge on that subject is seriously lacking), however, for me, the setting was non-existent, the only area described in detail being the shadow fold and funnily enough this is the area I had most trouble with imagining. Was the Shadow Fold over sea, or was it sand? I was sure the sea was mentioned and also a boat but then they mentioned crossing the sands and I just lost all hope of understanding. Often in books I tend to imagine aspects of the book different to how it was intended but it is very rare for me to not to be able to conjure up any image at all, and unfortunately this happened me a great deal in this book. When Mal and Alina were living in the Duke's house I imagined the world to be set in the Victorian Era (yes, England). Then, when the two characters are in the army, I imagined the time period to be more medieval. This jumped again when Alina went to the palace, which seemed to be a far more modern setting. Can you tell I was a little confused by this book? I also wish that Bardugo had explained the magic in the story. There is little explanation of how Alina comes to wield her power and become more powerful and no explanation is given to explain why certain people are gifted with magic and where the magic comes from (before reading Brandon Sanderson's The Final Empire I may not have seen this as a problem).

So, the confusion and lack of world building was a problem and so too was my hatred for the protagonist. Characters such as Genya, the Darkling and Mal would have been far better protagonists as they had much more depth and intrigue to them then Alina. She is obsessed with how she looks throughout the novel and comments on the looks of others constantly, below are just two examples of this:

" I had barely unlocked the door when it flew open and a tall girl pushed past me surveying the room and then me with a critical eye. She was easily the most beautiful girl I had ever seen."

"I'd learnt to avoid mirrors. They never seemed to show me what I wanted to see. But the girl standing next to Genya in the glass was a stranger. She had rosy cheeks and shiny hair and...a shape. I could have stared at her for hours." (The words "Get over yourself" come to mind here.)

If Bardugo had concentrated more on Alina honing her abilities and going into detail about her training, rather then discussing how much she now loved to wear makeup and dresses, I feel Alina's character may have had more substance.

One thing I was incredibly grateful for was the fact that the romance in the story did not overshadow the plot. Insta-love and romance filled plotlines are two of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to YA fiction. The romance in this story was much more believable and even had a twist to it which was unexpected and I really did enjoy that.

I seem to have completely slated this book and I did not mean to do so. I find that I may be being slightly unfair. While reading the book I enjoyed the story, I didnt by any means love it, but I wanted to continue reading,
unlike some books which I have to force myself to finish. However, following this book I decided to pick up Brandon Sanderson's "The Final Empire" and WOW. This was one of my all-time favourite books with amazing characters and world-building which made me look at Shadow and Bone with a far more critical eye.

If you like the premise of the story I would encourage you to pick up the book and read it for yourself . This book was not for me but was still an enjoyable read and so it gets:

RATING: 2.5 STARS

http://theirishbookworm.blogspot.ie/
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Fantasy, 5 July 2013
By 
atticusfinch1048 - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Shadow and Bone: The Grisha 1 (Paperback)
When I first picked this book up at the end of a long day I thought I would just have a quick dip in it to see how the opening flowed. Well I thought I would just read the opening chapter so at 11pm I dipped in to Shadow and Bone the next thing I knew it was after midnight and I was a hundred pages in wishing I didn't have to go to bed I just wanted to continue reading.

It is a gripping fantasy, I have heard it described as a mix of Potter, Twilight and the Hunger Games, such tosh it is far superior to them. More in the Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings mode good verses bad, and love that conquers all even at the worst of times. Shadow and Bones is supposed to be in the YA genre but any adult should read this as there a twists and turns up and down and a brilliant story.

We are introduced to two orphans at the beginning of the book Alina and Mal as young children and their incredible bond that will keep them together throughout of the story. How Mal at the beginning protects Alina who is all skin and bones and that when crossing the Shadow Fold it is Alina who saves Mal with a power she did not know she possessed.

It is this power throughout the book that she needs to harness so that she can finally defeat the Shadow Fold and reunite Ravka. It is through this power that she is at first guided by the Darkling and is able to see that absolute power corrupts and that she needs to stand up to him and fight for what is good.

It would be so easy to tell the whole story here but that would spoil the reason and the fun for buying this great book. I would recommend buying this book and join Alina in her fight for what is right and enjoy her love of Mal the great tracker.

Buy, Buy, Buy it now.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grisha book 1, 16 Oct. 2012
By 
Sarah (Feeling Fictional) (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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I read The Gathering Dark (otherwise known as Shadow and Bone if you're in the US) a month ago and I still can't get the story out of my head. Leigh Bardugo's debut novel had me captivated from the very first page and I didn't want to put it down for a second. This is without a doubt one of my favourite books of the year and bearing in mind that I've read over 300 books since January that is high praise indeed. I loved the world that the author has created, the Russian influence to the story adds depth to the world building and I loved the magical abilities of the Grisha.

Alina was the kind of heroine I found it easy to relate to, raised in an orphanage with only her best friend Mal to rely on she has never fully felt like she fitted in anywhere. All she really wants is to find a place where she belongs but when it is discovered she has a rare magical ability she finds herself taken away from everyone and everything she knows. Thrust into a new life amongst the Grisha Alina feels lost and alone, she doesn't understand the rules and is struggling to make sense of her power and how to harness it. Thankfully she makes a new friend in Genya but she misses Mal more than anything and is hurt when he doesn't reply to her letters. Her powers have drawn the attentions of the Darkling, the enigmatic leader of the Grisha and most powerful magic user in the kingdom of Ravka. Their country is torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a dark and desolate place where monsters rule and no human is safe, and the Darkling thinks that Alina could be the one person who can save them all.

I don't want to say too much more about the story line because I would hate to give you spoilers, this is the kind of book that you're best of picking up without knowing too much about so that you can thoroughly enjoy the journey you are taken on. I'm going to tell you that I loved Alina, the way she grows up as the story progresses and the strong young woman she has become by the end. I loved her friendship with Mal, the history they had together and the way they always look out for each other. I adored Mal, he has a quiet strength about him and proves himself a wonderful support to Alina. I also loved the Darkling, he was mysterious and secretive and I never knew quite what was going to happen around him but he has an appeal that is hard to resist.

The Gathering Dark is the kind of book that I wish I could wipe from my memory just so I could have the pleasure of reading it again for the first time. The pacing was perfect - a fast paced beginning to get you hooked, a beautifully written middle with layers of world building and character development followed by an explosive ending with plot twists that will make your jaw drop. I honestly can't recommend this book highly enough to fantasy fans so please ignore my gushing and read the book for yourself to discover just how amazing it is. I can't wait to read the next instalment - I'm just gutted that I have to wait a whole year to find out what happens next!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent book, 24 Dec. 2013
By 
Kerry Lee Morrison "elvenqueen201" (Belfast, Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Shadow and Bone: The Grisha 1 (Paperback)
A decent story, though the writing leaves something to be desired at times. The Darkling is a fantastic character. Alina is interesting, though her character arc so far is predictable and I hope to see something different from her in the coming books. At the moment, she's interchangeable with every other Young Adult female lead, gifted with great power but cursed with social awkwardness and a lack of personal confidence. Also, she's in love with her best friend, who leaves even more to be desired.

Overall the uniqueness of the worldbuild and the pace of the plot kept me interested, though in my opinion some of the developments were a little abrupt and could have done with more development - particularly, and without giving any spoilers away, Baghra's 'reveal' and Alina's reaction to it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing, well-built fictional world, 9 Jun. 2015
I have had this book on my goodreads to-be-read list since I first heard about prior to its publication. That was a time I did not have much time to read due to being busy with university and I found myself being extremely careful with what I picked to-be-read. I have had an e-copy of this book for at least two years and I have been meaning to read it for such a long time, but it wasn't until now that I finally picked it up.

The hype around this trilogy and the fact that I waited so long to read it had garnered huge expectations around this book. While some those expectations were fulfilled, there were other things that let me a bit cold. All and all, Shadow and Bone became a book that did not blow my mind away, but managed to persuade me to keep interested about the trilogy as a whole, which means that at some point, I will tackle the second and third book just to read more about these characters and this wonderfully inventive fictional world.

Ravka, a nation lacking the glory it once had, has been divided in two by shadow fold, a path of darkness where deadly monsters lurk, ready to consume the flesh of those brave enough to enter the fold and attempt crossing it. The society is ruled by a king who lives in a beautiful place. He is surrounded by Grisha, who are people with inhuman capabilities that range from being able to summon fire to being able to "tailor" ones looks. The Grisha are beautiful, powerful and led by The Darkling, a man of considerable age with a body and a face of a young man.

Alina Starkov grew up as an orphan and is now member of an army regiment ready to enter the Shadow Fold. Since she was a child, she has had Mal, an orphan boy, as her confidant, and she has grown older, she has started to feel towards Mal feelings that are not purely friendly, but more on the romantic side. After an accident at the fold, Alina is whisked to the King's palace - for a girl that has never been good in anything, she is suddenly basked with attention. She is told that her power, something that she has been able to keep hidden, even from herself, could be the savior of Ravka and could help to return it back to its glory.

As time goes by, Alina starts to get used to the routines of the Royal Palace. She goes through training and tries to get control of her power. She is educated on the history and traditions of The Grisha and the more time she spends with her kind, the more she starts to understand herself. But still, a part of her is missing in the form of Mal, her oldest friend and the boy she believed herself to be in love with. As Alina spends more time with the mysterious Darkling, the leader of the Grisha, she starts to question her feelings... Is the Darkling actually as interested as he seems? Is he just playing with her to gain more power? What is her whole within the Grisha? Can she really be the savour and the returner of the glory?

The character relationships in Shadow and Bone are something that you can find from pretty much every single book similar to it, be it either dystopian or fantasy. There's a girl who has been plain or unnoticed for her whole life until that one moment that brings into attention her beauty, her power. In an instant, she becomes special. Then there's that one guy she has grown up with, a guy who knows her better than anyone else, a guy that usually is in love with her without her knowing about it, or vice versa. In the case of Shadow and Bone, this familiar guy is someone the girl loves secretly, thinking that she will never have a true chance with him. After she learns about her true destiny, a new guy enters to her life that makes her question everything that she has believed before. A love-triangle type of situation ensues and the girl is made to question her decisions and her feelings, big time!

Though I am not a huge fan of love triangles, I was not too bothered with the one found from Shadow and Bone. It definitely is a factor that dropped my rating, but at the same time, it could have been done in a much worse manner. I think Bardugo manages to keep a pretty good balance between the romance stuff and the rest and allows the reader also to familiarize herself with the workings of the society and the feelings Alina goes through as she learns about her powers.

The strongest attribute of Shadow and Bone, without a doubt, is Bardugo's prose and world-building. The way Bardugo described Ravka made it possible for me to build that world in my mind while reading the novel. The traditions of the people, the training of the Grisha and the day to day events of Alina in an environment new to hear are vividly, to an extent, almost cinematically described. It was Bardugo's writing, the way she uses language, that kept me going and made this book an extremely quick read. The way Bardugo writes is also the main reason I want to keep going with this series.

Shadow and Bone proved to be a book worth a read, despite the fact that I found it slightly difficult to feel anything for the characters. Bardugo's writing convinced me to keep a look out for the second book in the trilogy and I am hoping to read it very soon. Her fictional world and the customs of that world are well established and my wish is that they will both be even more extensively developed in the books to come.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, it's a pleasure to escape into this world., 2 Feb. 2015
Originally posted @ https://thelast2know.wordpress.com

It took me far too long to jump on the band wagon of this series.

But on the plus side, I don’t have to wait impatiently for the release of the next book, eh?

So, what worked for me?

The Darkling – So, shoot me. He’s serious FAF material right there. And such an interesting character too! I like a ‘bad guy’ that has more than just ‘I’m evil’ working for him. And I did NOT see that coming. *looks pointedly at the end*

World Building – I was in. There was no point at which I thought ‘oh, really?’ I found it so easy to sink into, and I particularly enjoyed the weaponry. It’s reminiscent of our own history as human beings. Guns mucked s*** up!

Writing style – Bardugo has such an enviable style. I loved her writing for some of the same reasons I fell in love with Laini Taylor. It’s beautiful, and striking, but not pretentious or over-reaching. You know? It crosses that gap between ‘too teeny’ and ‘poetic adult’ (if such divide really exists, but you get what I mean, right?)

Story – It gives you everything your secret heart desires. And then subverts it in such a wonderful way!

What didn’t work for me?

Alina – I liked her character. But I didn’t ‘love’ her. I feel like she might be a ‘grower’ and it’ll take some time for my to get attached to her. She asks a lot of questions during her internal dialogue and I found myself skipping those end-passages of a chapter when I saw too many of these: ‘?’

Mal – At first I loved him. The whole dynamic between him and Alina was beautifully wrought. But, then he changed. Lols. I dunno, he feels too ‘righteous’. It’s probably just me. This is the girl who fell in love with Lucius Malfoy, after all.

The Darkling – *sobs* This isn’t fair to put this in the ‘what didn’t work for me’ section, because it’s simply a case of badass story writing on the author’s part. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it! I so wanted him to do something crazy (apart from the crazy he’s already involved in). I wanted him to so some sort of sign…

But alas.

There’s still hope… *prays*

___

I really, really enjoyed this book. I’m giving it a sucker-punching 4.5 out of 5. I’m not sure why I didn’t give it full marks. Maybe it’s because I haven’t become attached to the protagonist yet. But it’s almost there- a sliver away from perfection.
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4.0 out of 5 stars perfectly acceptable, but not outstanding, 31 Dec. 2014
By 
About two years ago I finished up my second Masters degree and decided all my tired brain wanted to do was read books that required very little mental involvement. YA books fit that bill perfectly. I subsequently went on a binge. I read a ton of them and bought even more. However, as I recovered my cognitive facilities, I grew bored with all the useless and frankly annoying teenage angst of these books and moved on. As a result I have a backlog of YA books sitting on my shelves (physical and digital) waiting to be read. Shadow and Bone is one such book. I'm not even sure why I picked it up this afternoon. The cover grabbed my eye, I think. ('Cause it's a great cover.)

To my complete surprise I didn't hate it. It wasn't full of Bella-esque drama and, while I'm not deeming Alina a wonderfully strong heroine, I didn't find her too-stupid-to-live either. I also appreciated that it wasn't a full love-triangle. I got scared for a while there, but it passed. The thing is though, while I didn't hate it, I didn't love it either. I don't even know that I liked it. And that's a strange place to find myself. I fully acknowledge that this is a well-written, well-edited, creative book. I consumed it in an evening. It's wonderful in it's own way, but also kind of bland.

It's like a store brand cheddar. It's a perfectly acceptable cheese. I'll slice it up and toss it on my sandwich and be perfectly happy with it. But it's not Brie. It's not my favourite. It's not something I'm excited to have gotten to eat and will remember. But I'm also notably not dissatisfied with it. Are you sensing my vacillation and painfully middle of the road feelings, here? Yeah.

Again, very well written. Again, a heroine I didn't hate. There was also a hero I liked (but didn't know well), a villain that was truly bad but had hints of multiple layers (but only hints) and side characters that were colourful enough to not just be filler. All good ingredients, mixed into a somewhat blasé whole.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing it's all my favourite books rolled into one., 20 Nov. 2014
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Shadow and bone is an amazing book and highly addictive once you start it sucks you in completely. Book 1 of the grisha trilogy concentrates on a young girl and young man called alina and mal. They are childhood friends and grew up together as orphans in a dukes estate. Part of the land that they live in has been consumed by a thick darkness called the fold and within the fold are creatures known as volcra. As mal is a tracker and alina is a mapmaker they have to cross the fold in order to reach the west. Once in the fold they are attacked by the volcra and alina unleashes a power of light that she didn't know she had which destroys the creatures and puts her in the hands of the grisha and the darkling. The darkling claims that he wishes to destroy the fold and bring peace to the land and he can only do this with alinas power, however not everything is as it seems. Shadow and bone is an amazing book and holds elements of some of my all time favourite books. There is a bit of Harry potter in there with the grisha as they have magic abilities and are trained to use these skills. There is a bit of Lord of the rings with a huge vast land with sprawling mountains, huge seas, vast forests towns and villages and just a general feel of a massive land. There is a bit of game of thrones with family dramas and a complex system of different categories of grisha. There is also a dash of twilight in there with a complicated love story just without the werewolves and vampires and finally hunger games with a basic need to overcome and survive the odds. This is amazing and completely absorbs you into its world, you will be utterly hooked.....amazing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 13 Oct. 2014
SHADOW AND BONE is set in a land called Ravka which is under siege from a menacing darkness filled with monsters that is slowly overtaking it. The magical elite known as The Grisha whom are ruled by the enigmatic leader The Darkling are the only people capable of keeping the Shadow Fold at bay. When a young orphan called Alina and her best friend Mal who serve in one of the army's many regiments are attacked, Alina reveals a long dormant power which may be the key to defeating the Shadow Fold. Taken under the wing of the Darkling, Alina joins the Grisha but soon learns that all that glitters is not gold.

I loved Alina's character, she was so relatable and I immediately connected with her. When she's taken from all that she knows and dropped into the lavish, privileged world of the Grisha, you get a real sense of her vulnerability but also her inner strength and the steely nature that is unearthed as she gains confidence and trust in her power. At times I admit I did get quite the "Bella" vibe off her as she did the usual YA heroine handwringing as to why people thought she was beautiful and special and oh my were attracted to her. Despite this she remained intensely likeable and Bardugo didn't focus on the over-used trope.

Let's talk about The Darkling. So utterly charismatic, mysterious and oozing power, his interest in Alina is almost addictively seductive to read and despite his anti-hero status I couldn't help but fall for him. Despite this I am firmly on the good ship Malina and have many life buoys ready for what I anticipate to be a rocky sailing. I have a definite soft spot for Mal whose sweet nature and friendliness make him instantly likeable. I love the chemistry and tension between Mal and Alina, how well they know each other, every moment is weighted with their history and deep knowledge of each other's strengths and weaknesses.

The world building was stellar for me, I loved the Russian influence and Bardugo's beautiful, effortless style of writing that makes it so easy to get swept away in the story. The complex hierarchy of the Grisha and their history is another highlight and I am eager to learn more. Never once did I feel like the pacing faltered and the last third was especially intense and wonderfully played out through skilful story-telling and heightened emotion.

Mesmerising, sultry and utterly captivating, SHADOW AND BONE is simply fantastic and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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Shadow and Bone: The Grisha 1 by Leigh Bardugo (Paperback - 6 Jun. 2013)
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