- Publisher: St Martin's Press
- Format: Hardback | 368 pages
- Dimensions: 147mm x 213mm x 33mm | 386g
- Publication date: 5 June 2012
- Publication City/Country: New York
- ISBN 10: 0805094598
- ISBN 13: 9780805094596
- Sales rank: 8,566
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."
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Leigh Bardugo was born in Jerusalem, raised in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. She is fond of glamour, ghouls, and costuming, and gets to indulge all of these fancies in her other life as a makeup artist. She can occasionally be heard singing with her band, Captain Automatic.
By MegShelley 02 Jul 2014
This book. How do you properly review a book that you love so much that you can find basically no fault in it?
I hadn’t expected to fall in love with this book as quickly as I did. The characters and the plot just grabbed hold of me and drew me in. They made me love them and want to keep reading despite having to start my shift at work. I found this such a good book that when I finally had my weekend, that I told my parents and everyone around me that they would get into a lot of trouble if they bothered me.
The first thing that caught my attention about this book was the cover. The bottom of the cover in particular, purely on the fact that it has what can be considered Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia. One of my ultimate destinations to go and visit and experience is Russia. For years now, I have been wanting to go there and see everything that I can, and learn the language more than I know it already. Then when I started reading the book itself, I learned that this is in an alternate universe with a lot of Russian influence. It takes place in a country torn apart by war called Ravka. I have seen other reviews on goodreads and other places on the internet saying that this is a poor representation of the country. I would just like to point to people that this is not Russia. It merely has Russian influence. There is a big difference.
This starts out when Alina Starkov is a little girl and first orphaned because of the war that has been ravaging Ravka for years upon years by this point. She gets her first look at The Grisha a few weeks or so after first getting to the Duke’s house. This is where you find out that The Grisha have powers and that they are there to try and see if Alina or her friend Mal have any type of power like they do. Scared of being ripped apart from what she had finally come to think of as home in a sense, she somehow tricks them into thinking that she is merely a normal human girl and not one of the Grisha. Fast forward a bit and you meet Alina and Mal when they’re older and serving in the army. This is also where you first meet The Darkling and more Grisha.
At the point where you meet The Darkling is where things start to really get interesting, because you finally learn that Alina is in fact a Grisha. The character development in this is surprising to me. I had thought that the book would have taken a different turn than it did. It was surprising how Alina finally found a place where she would belong, where she would fit in finally, only to have the opposite happen. She still felt out of place among those of her kind. The Darkling is by far my favourite character in this book. To me, he represents your typical person hungry for power. He has a soft spot for Alina and his Grisha, but at the same time he is so corrupt and evil and filled to the brim with his own arrogance and plans to overthrow the current government that he feels a need to keep Alina as a slave for his own rise to power because of the type of Grisha that she is. Mal, who in the book is Alina’s best friend is not among my favourite’s by far. As a character I’m glad that he is in the book because we need someone on Alina’s side from start to finish, wanting to see her succeed and be with her. She needs someone there to keep her grounded. As far as love interests go, I am definitely not rooting for Mal.
An unsung hero in this book is Baghra. Who later in the book when Alina flees the Little Palace, is the Darkling’s mother. She had been doing everything to train Alina to be ready and able to fight and take on the Darkling. The way this is written grabs the writer and makes them want to keep reading and reading. I didn’t want to put this book down as soon as I picked it up.
I wish I could say something else other than read this book as soon as you get it. It’s full of excitement, action, and some of the most interesting characters in a book I’ve read in a while. This is definitely a five star rating from me.
By Clean Teen Fiction 31 Aug 2012
I loved this book!! It was one of those reads where after I finished it I couldn't stop thinking about it. The author created an imaginative, magical, and vivid world. It was not a world I'd like to visit though.
Alina had it rough through childhood as an orphan in this harsh world. I went on an emotional roller coaster for sure. I love those kind of reads. I don't even know what to say without giving things away. I want you to read this book and discover this world for yourself. It's great! I'll tell you this: I cried tears of joy at one point which doesn't usually happen when I read. It was the sweetest moment. I'll have to choose this book for my book club to read so I can talk all spoilery about how wonderful it was!
The ending was great with enough closure to satisfy while leaving more to the story for the next installment. I can't wait to read the next book!!! Is it really a year away?
sexual: mild with 1 short moderate
By Brenna Staats 16 Aug 2012
It completely makes my day when I discover that there are new fantasy YA books coming out - and then I heard everyone one raving about how amazing Shadow and Bone is, so I had extraordinarily high expectations when I read Leigh Bardugo's debut, Shadow and Bone. And here's the thing: I didn't think it was as awesome as I had hoped, but I think I was also expecting the second coming.
While it's not that, it is an particularly noteworthy new release and one of the strongest debuts I've read in a long time. Plus, it features a strikingly rich and incredible fantasy setting unlike other books I've read within the genre.
Reasons to Read:
1.A GREAT fantasy setting:
You can kinda pick this up from the cover, but Shadow and Bone features a distinctly Russian influence for its setting - which is pretty sweet, if I do say so myself. You can really tell that Leigh drew some of her inspiration from it, which lends to this sort of magical setting that already exists within the book. And it keeps the characters and place just unfamiliar enough for those of us who aren't familiar with Russian language or names.
2.Dark, sexy villainry:
I really love it when an author can come up with a really GREAT villain; someone that you both sort of admire and despise, in a twisted sort of way. It's a complex relationship, and I think that's why it's so hard to do. So I treasure these rarities whenever I can find them- but I love it when a villain never seems quite ALL bad or totally evil (kinda like Darth Vader. Completely evil, but we still love him for some reason). Leigh is a master at this. And this is the kind of villain that you can develop a book crush on, easily.
3.Childhood best friends:
I'm a sucker for these relationships; I love it when two friends grow up together, and then something happens that tries to keep them apart. It's agonizing! But I always find that I feel such a deeper, stronger connection to the characters and I typically end up more emotionally invested in their story, because of their shared history. Mal and Alina are just too adorable; they fight like an old married couple (which sounds better than brother and sister).
4.A plot to care about:
I love that the plot has clear direction and totally owns the story- the plot keeps the story moving along and we don't lose ourselves in side stories or minor characters. Yes, other things are happening- but the focus stays on the Fold and what can be done about that. And the volcra? Yeah, those are FREAKY. I got really excited about this story and it kinda sucks that I'm now twiddling my thumbs waiting for the next book ALREADY.
Like I hinted at in the beginning of my review, my only complaint about this one is I think it may be a bit overhyped- yes, I definitely think this is a must-read YA of the year and one of the best books released in 2012. But I still felt like I was expecting TOO much from this one. Perhaps because I love and appreciate a good fantasy so much, I tend to put it up on a pedastal and I'm not sure this one is quite as exciting as I had hoped it would be.
But it is utterly magical, with kissing scenes to make you swoon, lovely writing that easily showcases Leigh's talent - why can't we have more books like this one?
E-galley received from publisher for my honest review; no other compensation was received.
By Jessica B 27 Jun 2012
Shadow and Bone was like walking through a version of Tolstoy's Russia that was filled with magic. So many little details reminded me of Tolstoy like the mention of saints, troikas, samovars, peasants, and even the names. The world building was incredible with details being revealed naturally throughout the story and even mentioned more than once so you wouldn't get confused. Leigh took a culture from our world and tweaked it just enough to turn it into a rich fantasy world. She's genius, I tell you!
The Grisha were a new and interesting mythology that reminded me a little of druids. They were unique and refreshing. They wore beautiful Russian-type robes and they had different classes of magic over certain elements like earth, air, and water. Throughout the book there was such beautiful imagery, like a boat sailing across the sand. The story line was unpredictable and fascinating. The prologue starts out with the main character Alina's childhood which I found very charming. I loved the theme throughout of how powerful knowledge is. There were circumstances that stayed exactly the same, but Alina's new knowledge would change everything. And to top all of that off, there are two very dashing and romantic leads that left me breathless. Do you like dark and mysterious or loyal and charming? I'll have one of each, thanks!
This was a new and exhilarating take on high fantasy. It was unlike anything I have ever read before.
By Margie C 19 Jun 2012
I have to admit right now that I am not a big fan of high fantasy books, my expectations of them are always too high - the world building and characters have to capture me within the first few pages - I need to be able to picture and feel everything as though I am sitting right next the characters...
Leigh Bardugo not only delivered but went over and beyond anything I could have ever expected with Shadow and Bone!
Her writing and storytelling had me mesmerized right from the start. There were moments that I found myself holding my breath and had to contain myself from skipping ahead! I could not put this book down and ended up reading it all in one night!
I feel like no matter what I write right now, it won't do this book any justice...
Alina is your average teen girl, really, she's just average. In a world that is ranked by power and beauty, Alina does not fit in anywhere. The only place she ever felt slightly normal was when she was with her childhood best friend, Mal. And now that they're of age and have been enlisted to do their jobs, they have been growing apart... until one day, their regiments are deployed to go through The Fold - a place that no one ever wants to go through - and they are attacked and Mal is seriously injured which causes Alina to unleash her unknown powers to stop it. A power that no on else possess. Which then leads to Alina joining the Royal Court, and must go through training to control her new power. She is thrust into an unknown world, one that she had never thought she would ever be a part of. Even with her power, she feels that she not good enough to be ranked with the beautiful Grisha. And I don't blame her! Everyone always thought of her as average, and she believed it. Wouldn't you have a hard time getting over your past as the 'ugly duckling' that nobody wanted?
Mal... I have to say, in the beginning, I didn't like Mal very much. He started off like a typical teen boy, hanging out with his friends, showing off, doing what guys do. But once he was one-on-one with Alina, we finally got to see his true personality, and he shined. Yes, sounds typical, but in real life this is what people do - we sometimes act a bit differently depending who we are with, and most teens are known to do fall for this... and I forgive Mal. He truly lives up to everything you will expect of him, and more.
There is no denying that The Darkling is a stunning, quick witted and a mysterious guy. Which of course makes him completely irresistible. Even though I had a bad gut feeling about this guy, I fell for him. Hard.
And he broke my heart... and no, I will never forgive him.
This is the place where nightmares are made. Seriously! I had a dream, errr, nightmare about it. The Fold is a stretch of land that has been voided. There is nothing there but complete darkness and for lack of a better word, death. This is where Bardugo's writing and world building just left me with my mouth hanging open, staring out into space, picturing and feeling exactly what it would feel like to be in that place... it gave me the shivers.
If you loved Katsa, Po and Leck from Graceling (by Kristin Cashore), you will also love Alina, Mal and The Darkling. Similar stories, for both are very well written high fantasy books. But so very different in everything else. Shadow and Bone is a must read book!
'Danger and duplicity abound (is the Darkling good or evil?) in this lavish portrayal of a country reminiscent of Imperial Russia."--"VOYA""Set in a fascinating, unique world rich with detail, "Shadow and Bone" was unlike anything I've ever read." --Veronica Roth, "New York Times" bestselling author of "Divergent""Fast-paced and unpredictable, this debut novel will be a hit with readers who love dark fantasy."--"School Library Journal," starred"Mesmerizing...Bardugo's set up is shiver-inducing, of the delicious variety. This is what fantasy is for."--"New York Times""A rich fantasy landscape, an inspired magical structure, and a gratifying emotional hook keep the pages whirring by until a final twist upends assumptions and lands us smack in the middle of a harrowing climax. "--"Horn Book Magazine""Filled with lush descriptions, intriguing magic, and plenty of twists, this memorable adventure offers action and intrigue mixed with an undercurrent of romance and danger."--"Publishers Weekly""The plotting is powerful..."--"Kirkus ""Bardugo weaves a captivating spell with lushly descriptive writing, engaging characters, and an exotic, vivid world. Readers will wait impatiently for the next installment."--"Booklist""""Romantic and magical...Plenty of plot twists and betrayals kept us enjoying this richly-crafted adventure until the very last page. (P.S. A do-not-miss for fans of "Graceling.")" --"Justine Magazine""""A well-drawn world, full of deceit and mythology, populated by entirely believable characters. Full of truly surprising twists and turns, beautiful imagery and a protagonist it's impossible not to root for, this is a great choice for teenage fans of George R.R. Martin and J.R.R. Tolkien."--"RT Book Reviews""""This is one book series you want to get hooked on." --Seventeen.com"This gripping debut novel, with a touch of magic and romance, about two orphans thrown together during a century-old war will keep readers burning the midnight oil." --Shelf Awareness