From the Bottom Shelf

Bottom Shelf Reviews: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Notes from Bottom Shelf

Earlier this month I wrote about my new plan to try to finally work my way through my extensive To Be Read pile, or at least try to curb my spending so that it stops growing faster than I can read through it. I’m not sure how well I’ve been sticking to this plan, as last week I purchased four new (well, technically two new and two used) books – only two of which I plan on reading immediately. Used bookstores are my downfall. If I can buy a book for less than $5 it’s really hard to resist! I’m going to have to try harder from now on.

However, I did manage to accomplish at least one goal: I have read one of the novels that’s been sitting in that pile for over a year. (Of course, finishing that novel led me to buying the next two books in the series – two of the books mentioned above – so I’m not really sure how helpful it was to finally get this book read, but at least I can cross one off my TBR list!) I have been seeing so much about the Grisha Trilogy lately that I decided this was an appropriate place to start.

Shadow and BoneTitle: Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy Book 1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
Rating: 3.75 stars

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. (Goodreads)

I picked this up in a bargain section of a bookstore one day last year and never actually read it. At the time I had never even heard of the book, but it looked interesting. Then, once I started reading more blogs and following Top Ten Tuesdays, I started hearing more and more about this series and decided it was time to finally read it.

I am in favor of any YA novels that shy away from traditional “anglo culture.” What I mean is, a lot of YA novels take place in America, or in some fantasy world that seems to be based on an Anglo country. There is definitely a lack of diversity in YA novels, which is why I love books like this. It was interesting reading about a world that is based more on Russian culture than American or British or something in between. Even if I hadn’t liked the story itself, I would have still appreciated that. However, I did really enjoy it.

This novel tends to follow a lot of the general YA tropes – at least where the romance is concerned – but I was still able to enjoy the story, and I really liked Alina and Mal. I’m hoping the rest of the novels don’t follow too closely to those stereotypes, but we’ll see. I like the magic system set up in this story, but sometimes get tired of the “chosen one” storyline. I’ll have to see how that plays out in the rest of the novels as well.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book enough that I had to go out and buy the next two books in the series so I can read them all together. I’m hoping it doesn’t fall too far into the same YA traps that most novels do, but for now I liked this book and am looking forward to the rest of the series.

2 thoughts on “Bottom Shelf Reviews: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo”

  1. Sigh. I feared this series would be very cliché, which is part of the reason I haven’t picked it up yet. You may have just bumped this one further down my list, lol.


    1. The problem is, there’s little suggestions and potential for a twist that would set it apart from most things I’ve read, and could be really interesting, but I don’t think the books will really explore that path which is a little disappointing. The books aren’t bad, they’re just not really original apart from setting and culture.


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