Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo

shadow and boneFrom goodreads: The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to 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?


I discovered Smoke and Bone through Jessica’s fabulous review at Rabid Reads.  She was absolutely right when she said I would love it and I was captivated from the very beginning.  I’m not a fan of love triangles but in this particular story it worked, however, it wasn’t an in your face triangle.  It was subtle and that’s what I loved about it.

“I don’t care if you danced naked on the roof of the Little Palace with him. I love you, Alina, even the part of you that loved him.”

This is the story about power, the greed for an all-consuming kind of power within a magical universe.  It’s about finding out who you are and what you’ll do once you find out, oh how I love this kind of drama and intrigue.

“I’ve been waiting for you a long time, Alina. You and I are going to change the world.”

Ravka is the setting for this fabulous fantasy world and within that world exists The Shadow Fold. This is where the darkness lives and the home to the Volcra.  They are flesh-eating monsters that will give you the heebie jeebies! *shivers*

“The thought filled me with grief, grief for the dreams we’d shared, for the love I’d felt, for the hopeful girl I would never be again.”

The beginning of the story was a bit difficult to adjust to because I was unfamiliar with all the Russian references but once I got it, I was reading this book like an athlete trying to win a gold medal.  The main characters of the story felt genuine, incredibly flawed and complex.  I wouldn’t say one was more complex than the other because they all had their harrowing story to tell.

“I hope you don’t expect fairness from me, Alina. It isn’t one of my specialties.”

Alina was a heroine I instantly was able to connect with because she knows she’s different but she doesn’t necessarily know how.  All she wants is to feel like she belongs and ultimately to feel loved.  And when she discovers how she’s different, oh my word, you will not put this book down.

“Lying in the dark, waiting for sleep, I wondered if those paths would just keep taking us further and further apart, and if a day might come when we would be strangers to each other once again.”

I loved the Darkling but the jury is still out if this is who I want Alina to be with.  He has a hidden agenda, he’s cunning and possibly deceptive.  Deceptive seems like such a strong word when maybe he just has trouble with communication!! Ha!  In all seriousness, I did love him but I loved Mal more.  I won’t say anything more about these appealing book boyfriends because that would ruin your reading fun.

“I’d catch myself just walking around to find you, not for any reason, just out of habit, because I’d seen something that I wanted to tell you about or because I wanted to hear your voice. And then I’d realize that you weren’t there anymore, and every time, every single time, it was like having the wind knocked out of me.”

If you love the fantasy genre, I urge you to give this series a try and Leigh Bardugo has created a page to help with pronunciation of certain terms and their meanings, it’s called Speak Ravkan.



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Reading Order:


  1. says

    Cristina, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again–you make my heart happy ;) I’m SO glad you liked this as much as I did, and yes, it is absolutely a story about power and all-consuming greed, and determining your place in the world. I also agree with you about the triangle not being the standard triangle.

    I have a friend that I got to read this who was Team Darkling. Even after she’d finished the book (WHAT?!). I have one thing to say to those people:

    “I’ll meet you in the meadow.”

    Am I right?! Gah, Mal makes me swoon! Absolutely marvelous review, Cristina. Truly.

    • Cristina says

      OH MY GOD…YES, the meadow!!!!! Mal makes me swoon and by book 2 I fell for him hard!!! Team Darkling?? I didn’t even know that team existed…LOL!!! I wasn’t sure how I felt about him in book 1 but by book 2 I had very strong opinions! :)

  2. says

    I’m reading this right now… and ohmygawd it’s awesome!! I’m only about halfway, but totally in love. I read several books at once, which makes it tough sometimes. Though I’d rather be reading this one at times, it’s a physical book, and sometimes it’s easier to have my Kindle with me instead, so I read the ebook. But man, when I’m not reading this I’m thinking about it. :)

    • Cristina says

      I always prefer my kindle because of the dictionary and what not. But this book is WOW…it’s a different type of YA fantasy book but wait until you get to book 2. Holy drama!!! Can’t wait to read what you think! :)

  3. says

    You’ve convinced me! I shall be adding this to my wishlist :D I’m wary of love triangles too but I do admit that there were just instances that they just work. I applaud an author than can make a love triangle understandable because seriously, in real life…does love triangles really happen this often as they do in book? Great review Christina! Love those quotes!

    • Cristina says

      It’s such a subtle love triangle that it’s one of the main reasons why I think it worked. I totally enjoyed this series and I can’t wait for you to meet Mal…I thought he was perfect! *dreamy sigh* :)

  4. says

    I’m glad that despite a difficult start you finally loved it. I keep hearing amazing things about it and I’m glad you liked it too! I really need to try the series as well!

    • Cristina says

      It wraps up in June! *eeep* No spoilers in my review but don’t worry, the less you know, the better off you are!!! :) I loved this one…I really did! ♥​

  5. says

    I was in this love/ hate relationship with Fantasy until i finally picked this one up and devoured it. i love the story, the characters and just EVERYTHING about this series. I still don’t know if i love the darkling or Mal more i just have so many feelings LOL. I love how you included so many quotes in this review because honestly so many beautiful things were said in this book and i love all the quotes you included!
    Great review!
    Lily @ Lilysbookblog

    • Cristina says

      You can usually tell how much I love a book or series by the amount of quotes I include in a review! LOL… I love Mal and I truly think he’s perfect and I’m a bit nervous to see how book 3 ends. *gulp* It’s definitely one of my favorites of 2014! :)

  6. says

    I do need to enter the magical realm again. I’ve been avoiding fantasy books, because for some reason, it’s not luring me in! But I do have this book, just haven’t cracked a peek. But reading your review is making me feel enthusiastic about reading this series! Brilliant review, Cristina <3

    • Cristina says

      Sometimes a magical realm is all you need to get back into the swing of things (as far as reading is concerned). Fantasy is my favorite genre just because anything always seems possible! ♥ You’ll really enjoy this one! :)

  7. says

    I heard the audio of books 1 & 2 a few months ago and also liked it. I’m not sure how I feel about the Darkling yet though.
    Confession: my perverted mind always ‘went there’ when I heard they were ‘heading into The Fold’…
    Folds is one of my most hated words in sex scenes, I’m scarred for life…

    • Cristina says

      LOL…don’t even get me started on The Shadow Fold….bawahahahaha! I was like, that’s the name they picked??? Seriously? But clearly, I was able to let it go but I thought the same thing!!!! Glad I’m not alone! ;)

  8. says

    This is one of those series that I want to read day and night until I devour it all and then my life won’t make any sense for the next couple of days! That’s why I’m waiting for the last book to be out and start my mission! :)

    • Cristina says

      Thank you Tanja ♥ …I totally love this series and even enjoyed the novellas. I’m dying for the third book!!! The third book will be released soon and I can’t wait to read what you think about this series! :)

  9. says

    Thank you for clearing up where all the references are coming from, I’m reading the book at the moment and they are driving me crazy because I can’t place them! I’ve had a lot of trouble with getting absorbed into the book unfortunately.

    • Cristina says

      The Russian references can be exhausting if you don’t have the guide, I hope it helps you. But this is a story you have to be in the mood for and I hope it works out! *bites fingernails nervously* ;)

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