Review: Shadow and Bone | Leigh Bardugo

This Review contains spoilers.

“I’m not like you, Mal. I never really fit in the way you did. I never really belonged anywhere.” 
“You belonged with me.” 

Series: The Grishaverse
Published: 2014, by Indigo.
Pages: 308
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Romance, Dystopia
Contains: Death, Violence, Blood/Gore

‘Shadow and Bone’ tells the story of orphan, Alina, who discovers she has a unique power which forces her into the kingdom’s magical elite – the Grisha. There, she battles those believing her to be a fraud, her own self-doubt, and the desperation of returning home to childhood-crush, Mal, whilst drawn to The Darkling, her mysterious leader.

When deciding to add this book to this month’s reading list, I honestly wasn’t sure how I was going to take it. The story seemed interesting, yet I felt as if the romance would be overbearing for me. However, I was pleasantly surprised.

The relationships between the characters were enjoyable to read, Mal’s character quickly becoming one of my favourites. The interactions between him and the protagonist were sweet and heart-warming, their history clear within the dialogue. Genya’s character was also another one I loved, her personality being the strongest throughout the novel and her quirky dialogue made the story an easy read. However, Alina’s character fell kinda flat to me. Her character was fairly dull for the majority of the story, seeming to have no personality other than to suit the purpose of being the reluctant, weak main character. It wasn’t until the end of the novel, where she is reunited with Mal, that her personality shone through. The Darkling was another character that I was disinterested in, especially once revealing his villainous motives. Before that, he was the dark horse of the novel, and I loved that about him; however, after discovering his plans he instantly became the cliche villain, with weak lines of dialogue sounding straight from a cartoon.

The plot line as a whole was interesting, and I loved the magical aspects and idea of The Shadow Fold. However, admittedly it took me a while to adjust to the terminology throughout the novel. Although, there was a map at the beginning of the book, with a short explanation of the different divisions of people, nothing was in depth. Within the narrative, nothing is explained, meaning it took me around 100 pages in to fully grasp the concept. However, that may have been my own personal reading.

Overall, I’m surprised at how much I enjoyed this novel, having expected the worst with the emphasis on romance. However, for my first Leigh Bardugo novel, it was entertaining enough for me to continue the series soon.

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