Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo | The book that pulled me out of a reading slump!

«Shadow and Bone» by Leigh Bardugo is the first book in the acclaimed Grisha world that surpassed all of my expectations! And yes, it is still the usual YA fantasy with cheesy lines, the fake “flawed” main character with big emphasis on the romance. But however cliché it was, I loved it! 

As I will be writing this review, there might be more and more “negative” things that I will think of, but I don’t even care about them anymore. I enjoyed reading this book from the moment I picked it up until the very last page, and nothing can change that. So be aware that my rating is solely based on my enjoyment of the book.

goodreads blurb:

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the world of the kingdom’s magical elite – the Grisha. Could she be the key setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a man of seductive charm and terrifying power. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him? 



1 – This was my first novel by Leigh Bardugo but definitely won’t be the last one! She knows how to write simple and at the same time captivating paragraphs that draw images of snowy plains, dark forests and beautiful Grisha. After reading a few Literary Fiction novels back to back, this easy but enticing YA fantasy was like a breath of fresh air, pulling me away from the claws of the reading slump, that I’ve been on the verge of for a couple of months now. 

2 – There is something about Russian inspired settings that will always appeal to me. Maybe it’s the cold winters, as I often found myself shivering from just reading the descriptions of brutal cold nights, or maybe it’s the culture and many memories of my favorite Russian fairy tales and cartoons that make the reading experience so much more fascinating. 

3 – The magic system hasn’t been explained very well yet, but that’s why I wish to continue reading this as soon as possible to find out more! The Grisha can manipulate matter at a fundamental level, which they refer to as Small Science. There are some powers that are fairly common, for example, the manipulation and summoning of nature elements – water, fire, wind, but there are others that are very rare, this would be the Darkling and his extremely rare power to manipulate shadows. 

The feeling I got from the first book is that the Grisha powers are still being studied, they evolve and they change, no-one knows the exact extent of these powers. So I’m very excited to find out more about the Small Science from the future installments. 


1 – The main complain that I have is the lack of research when it comes to Russian inspired words. And I know they are just inspired by Russian culture and language, but the discrepancies still bothered me a lot.

If you don’t know, my first language is Russian and I grew up in Ukraine for the first 17 years of my life. So I’m pretty accustomed with the Russian culture, folklore and, of course, language. 

  • Kvas – is NOT an alcoholic beverage! Yes, it’s a fermented drink, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s alcoholic. It’s more of a healthy alternative to fizzy drinks, and I spent most of my childhood drinking kvas.
  • The Grisha – this was confusing at first, because in the book word refers to a TYPE of people, i.e. the ones with the powers, as Grisha is a Russian name, short for Gregoriy.
  • There were many words in italic throughout the book that had a Russian feel to them, but aren’t actual Russian words, like kefta.
  • Some names / surnames didn’t have the correct ending. Many of Russian female name and last names end on an “a”, while male names / surnames don’t. 

I also found this Youtube video by Books & Waffles, where she talks about the whole Grisha trilogy from a perspective of the Russian reader, which I found very interesting:

My rating:

I already picked up the second book in this series, and the story is just as good. There are new characters introduced in the second book that I really loved! (more thoughts in my «Siege and Storm» review 🙂 )



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15 thoughts on “Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo | The book that pulled me out of a reading slump!

    1. Thank you! I was actually pleasantly surprised by this one. And I already finshed the second book (lots of exciting events took place and some new characters were introduced that I loooove). My plan was to read book 3 asap, but… yea… that didn’t happen. Hopefully in September! *fingers crossed*

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Omgg, the second you finish this trilogy read Six of Crows!! I read the duology before the Shadow and Bone trilogy, mostly because I had tried Shadow and Bone and wasn’t able to get more than a chapter in. After I read SoC I gave the trilogy another shot and enjoyed it. I’d have to say that Crooked Kingdom is my favorite Leigh Bardugo book.

    I have heard people complain about the Russian-ness of Leigh Bardugo’s books before, and though I’m not Russian I totally get it. It’s always frustrating to see littles discrepancies in books that some other readers might not notice. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At first I was going to read Six of Crows without reading the Grisha trilogy. But after watching a couple of videos and reading reviews, many bloggers advised to read the Grisha trilogy first, so that’s what I decided to do 😀

      I do own the Six of Crows duology, so my plan is to read it as soon as I finish this series 🙂 I heard so many amazing things about it!
      Thank you ❤


  2. I love how much you loved this despite the issues you had with it. For you to see it from a Russian’s perspective is also sooo enlightening! I’ve only read Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and I am pretty much sure it has to be the best YA book I’ve ever read hahah I definitely want to try her Grishaverse though. Especially with the Netflix adaptation in the works right now! Great review, Alex! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I need to get back to this series. I read this book a while back and liked it too despite the romance and cheesy lines, lol.
    I don’t know very much about Russian culture or language, so I appreciate you section on what annoyed you. I might check out that You Tube video too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is something very compelling about it. Maybe it’s the Russian setting. Or maybe it’s the fact that I can read the 400 pages book practically in one sitting. I don’t know 😀 but I really enjoyed it.


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