Book Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I read and heard so much about the Grisha trilogy that I decided I had to read these books. Luckily, Shadow and Bone ebook was on sale last week and I didn’t miss the opportunity; finally, finished it today in a single sitting. I just couldn’t put it down. The plot was great, the Grisha powers were quite novel and the characters were amazing.

Alina and Mal have grown up together in an orphanage. She has always secretly been in love with him but he hasn’t realized it yet. When they were tested for magical powers in their childhood, they didn’t show any affiliation; so Mal has become a tracker and Alina is a cartographer for the military. Their life takes a turn when they are ordered to cross the Shadow Fold – the darkness which caused a rift separating the kingdom of Ravka into two; which houses the monsters voltra who show no mercy on anyone trying to cross the darkness. When the skiff they are traveling in is attacked by the voltra, Alina unleashes her unknown power and saves everyone from imminent death. This is where Alina and Mal get separated because she is sent off to the Little Palace, home and training ground of the Grisha. When the Darkling, head of the Grisha, enlightens her that she is the only Sun Summoner in the kingdom and they could together destroy the Shadow Fold, bringing peace to the kingdom – she finally lets herself believe that she has found her destiny. But is everything as it appears? Is she in danger from just the kingdom’s enemies or from within the kingdom itself? Who are her true friends? Will she succeed in fulfilling her destiny?

There is not a whole lot of world building in the book but I really enjoyed reading about the different types of Grisha. Alina starts off as a frail, sickly girl who doesn’t believe she has any powers or special qualities but finally embraces the truth and finds her true happiness that she had been suppressing her whole life. There is a scene in the book when she, for the first time, accepts herself for who she is and it is probably one of the most powerful scenes of a female character I have read in recent times, especially in YA. Her character growth is fantastic and I can’t wait to see what she does next. The Darkling is amazing – that’s all I can say. I kept waiting for more scenes of him, with Alina and I would be ecstatic if there was a book with just the two of them. I didn’t really enjoy Mal’s character, but he is extremely loyal to Alina and that’s enough for me to root for him. I also liked the side characters, especially Genya and Baghra – we can never really tell where their loyalties lie and their motivations remain a little ambiguous. And then ending is just WOW – total badass. I just can’t wait to pick up Siege and Storm and drown myself in the lives of Alina and the Darkling and everyone else.

Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

PS – In addition to everything, I am also in love with the gorgeous covers 😍😍😍

PPS – Thank you so much Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes for gushing so much about this trilogy.

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