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Sunday, March 31, 2013

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

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Published: June 5, 2012
Pages: 358
Source: Bought
Rating: 5 Stars


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 fulfil 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?
Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.

In short: Thanks to my blog commenters who shamed me into reading Shadow and Bone, I got to experience a real treat. This book has it ALL!
A few weeks ago when I posted my Top Ten Tuesday post, Top Ten Books I HAD To Buy... But Are Still Sitting On My Shelf Unread, there was something of a public outcry from my commenters who couldn't believe I STILL had not read some of the most hyped about books from the past few years. Out of all the books I listed, the biggest outcry was for Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, which I bought shortly after it was released last year after a slew of rave reviews. Because I had been shamed by the commenters and because I apparently cave easily to peer pressure, I made Shadow and Bone my next read when I next had a break between review books.

So I guess I should start off this review by thanking everyone who made me read Shadow and Bone. YOU WERE RIGHT! I already knew going into it that this book was going to be my JAM, but I was still blown away by the story and not at all let down after all the hype surrounding it. THIS BOOK GUYS. It's been a while since I've enjoyed myself so much while reading a book. It had so many elements that I love, including (but not at all limited to): a wonderfully developed and beautifully picturesque world, a creative and fascinating magic system, a sort of boarding school setting, an awesomely relatable and fierce heroine, a slow building and fantastically swoony romance, and an enigmatic and complex villain. Shadow and Bone has it ALL!

I can't put into words how much I loved the world building in Shadow and Bone. I was just left mesmerized by it, much as I was with Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It's been a while since I've had that experience of wanting completely to become apart of a fictitious world, but I found it was the case with Shadow and Bone. Except instead of "I want to be a witch and put on robes and go to Hogwarts!", it was, "I want to be a Grisha and put on a kefta and go to Os Alta!" I mean, okay, it probably wouldn't be the best time to be apart of this world amid all the death and destruction at the time the book takes place, but you get the idea.

So yes, thanks to my blog commenters, I got to experience a real treat with Shadow and Bone - one where I was held utterly captivated from beginning to end and one that had me wanting to sew my own kefta. You guys are the bestest. Maybe I should pick the next most popular reading choice from that post to read next since this was such a resounding success for me.

Other Reviews:
My Precious
Paper Riot
Saz101

Authors Links:
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46 comments :

  1. I'm glad you like this one- I thought that you might. I am very much looking forward to the sequel. Bardugo is a fantastic writer I agree, and the world she created it phenomenal.

    Thanks for the review.

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    1. Yeah, it really is right up my alley, isn't it?! I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!

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  2. AYLEE. I'm so so happy to see that you absolutely adored this book! I read it not too long ago, and I have to agree with you on many levels. Leigh Bardugo did SUCH and amazing job with world-building and making it seem so real and right before our eyes. AND DAT ROMANCE. So, so good. Yay for picking this book up! Brilliant review as always, Aylee! :)

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    1. DAT ROMANCE! lol! Leigh Bardugo is DA BOSS of world building!! I am so happy that I got to experience this story! Thanks, Jen :D

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  3. YES! I am seriously happy that you loved this, Aylee, because it was one of the BEST YA FANTASY NOVELS I'VE READ. EVER. (Harry Potter doesn't count; it's sheer perfection. ;)) Leigh Bardugo definitely did a spectacular with her debut novel - I loved the world-building in it as well! But what did you think about the Darkling? I personally prefer Mal, but I can't deny that the Darkling is swoony. :P

    Anyway, so glad you enjoyed this! Great review, Aylee!

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    1. Haha, YEAH! There was nothing that I could find fault with in this one (or HP!). The Darkling was one of the most fascinating and enigmatic characters that I have come across and I LOVED that! I can admit he was plenty swoony too... though yeah, totally Team Mal. Thanks for the comment, Megan!

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  4. YEAH AYLEE!!!! So glad you loved this too! *happy dance* Mesmerized is such a good word to use, and it sums up my reaction to this book perfectly. I didn't really know what to expect going in, and it just blew me away. AND THE DARKLING AYLEE! I have all the feels about him:)

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    1. WOOHOO!! Mesmerized and blown away and ALL THE FEELS!! The Darkling was pretty great: he was exactly what I want in both a villain AND a love interest. Which was kind of confusing. But I loved it!

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  5. I have been wanting to read Shadow and Bone since I first found out about it. It is currently #1 on my wishlist and if it wasn't there already, I would have bumped it up to #1 after your review!! I MUST read this book! Everything you described here matches up with everything I've heard so far so really this one is a CAN NOT miss for me! Eeeek your review has gotten me even MORE pumped about this one. So much so that I almost forget my shame for not having read it yet...I may be the last one left now o.O

    Anyways thanks for the brilliant review Aylee!!!

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    1. I think you would really love it, Micheline!! Definitely a Not To Be Missed book. It is possible you're the last... though try not to feel shame about it! I promise to still be your blog friend even though you haven't read it :) Thanks so much for the comment, Micheline!!

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  6. OMG I freaking love that you said this book was your JAM. Yes. Yes Yes. I love you Aylee.

    I have to be honest and say that I bought this one on release day too and I have yet to pick it up. But you have sold me! The world building sounds absolutely fantastic and I need to meet these characters. Great review!

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    1. Haha OH YEAH - this book was totally my JAM!! Thanks, Jenni :) Loves!

      WOO, I really hope you love it just as much as I did, Jenni!

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  7. 'And apparently I cave easily to peer pressure' Oh Aylee xD I think the blurb of that one might have tured me off it (scary! xD)but I think I'll give it a try now!

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    1. Heh, it's kind of true - I do! When it comes to books anyways. Don't be too scared off by the blurb!

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  8. I knew you'd love it! You forgot to mention the awesomeness that was the map in the book ;)

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    1. Oh yes! An absolute beauty, wasn't it? I stopped and stared for a good long time before even getting to the book.

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  9. Okay then, hah. Because I suck at self preservation, I'll admit publicly that I haven't read this one either. BUT in my won defense, I'll say I just recently got the audio so I'll be listening to it VERY soon. Hopefully I'll like it just as much as you did, and especially the fabulous worldbuilding.
    Glad you enjoyed!

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    1. Say WHA? haha, that's okay, I'm sure you will be able to get to it pretty soon and I do hope you like it as much as I did, as well!

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  10. So glad you loved this. It's a very well done story. I was disappointed by the Darkling though. Were you? I admire her for going in a different direction.

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    1. I assume you don't mean disappointed by the characterization of The Darkling because it seems everyone is in agreement that he was the most fascination and enigmatic character of the novel. But yes, I was a bit disappointed with the turnaround with the Darkling because I admit I had fallen for him! But I do prefer Mal, overall.

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  11. Glad you enjoyed this one. I still haven't read it, but one day!!

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    1. Cool, I hope you love it just as much!!

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  12. Yay, I'm so happy you ended up loving this one too, Aylee! Did you fall in love with the Darkling as much as I did or are a you a Mal fan? I can't wait to see more of both characters and their interactions with Alina in Siege and Storm.

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    1. Oh, The Darkling was definitely swoony, I do admit that. I felt so deceived at that reveal because I had totally fallen for his act! But I do think Mal is the right love interest for Alina. I really can't wait to see what happens next in Siege & Storm!!

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  13. Yesssss! I'm SO happy you loved this book! Can I sew a kefta and come with you?

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    1. YES!! We would look so fab in our keftas, Small!

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  14. Yay! I'm beyond ecstatic that you loved this and called it your JAM!!! I agree with everything you said in your review. This book made me want a kefta so bad! And I cannot wait till Siege & Storm! I need my Darkling fix. Great review Aylee! Glad you enjoyed it! :D

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    1. Yay!! Leigh just made the keftas sound so fab - I would love to own and wear one!! I'm really curious to see the Darkling again after the events in Shadow and Bone!

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  15. I've never been so fond of peer pressure before! ;) I'm SO thrilled you finally read this, Aylee! I loved it, too, and completely agree about the worldbuilding. It's mesmirsing - and I want my own kefta, too! And my own Mal, while we're at it! :D It's great to see your 5 stars. Wait 'til you read Siege and Storm! :)

    Awesome review!

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    1. haha! Peer pressure kind of works for books, you know? The world building was the best. And YES - can I get my own Mal, too?? haha! I'm so excited to hear you say that Siege & Storm was so good!!

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  16. I did the same thing! I didn't read it until it has been out for a few months and I loved it!! It's such an amazing world that Leigh Bardugo created.

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    1. Totally amazing!! I feel so silly for putting it off for so long!

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  17. Yeah, yeah, yeah! I'm sooo happy you finally read it, because I also loved this book! I've read it like.. two weeks ago and I'm still fangirling over it, haha.

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

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    1. Yeah, I loved your review!! I still can't stop thinking about it and fangirling over it either!

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  18. I'm glad the book turned out to be so good after so much buzz (it not always happens) :D 'm happy you enjoyed it

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    1. Yes, thankfully I felt it lived up to the hype because it's always sucky when it doesn't!!

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  19. I haven't read this one yet, either, so you weren't the only one. No worries. I suppose I need to get a copy ASAP though since you're now among the many bloggers praising this book. Based on the summary, it seems like a typical story...so many summaries sound too alike. I'm glad it's not though, and it contains a lot of elements I love too!

    -Lauren

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    1. YES. ASAP! Try not to focus too much on the summary and the hype though - hopefully you'll love it in its own right! It has a lot of GOOD going for it, so I think you won't be disappointed!

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  20. Yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed Shadow and Bone so much, Aylee! Bardugo definitely did hit so many right notes in terms of creating a great YA fantasy. Not too much longer until Siege and Storm now. :)

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    1. Oh yes - it's like she knew exactly what all her readers LOVE in books - and she delivered BIG TIME. Can't wait for SIege & Storm!

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  21. Loved your review. It was entertaining. I so need to read this. Everyone I know has been gushing about this book so much. I feel left out. Not gonna lie, haha.

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    1. Aww! Well, hopefully you can read this soon so you won't feel left out anymore - I promise it is something that you won't regret reading!

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  22. Hahaha! Comment pressure turned out to be positively advantageous for you! :P I'm glad you read this one, Aylee, and you've made it sound SO good. A comparison to Daughter Of Smoke And Bone? Wow. I've been wanting to read Shadow And Bone since so long myself and after your review, I can't wait. Awesome review! :)

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

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    1. Yup, sometimes peer pressure can be an absolutely excellent thing!! I can't wait to read your review for it, Sarika!! I really hope you like it and I think you might if you loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

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  23. I'm so happy you decided to pick this up and fell in love with it the way I did. If anything, this book was PHENOMENAL. I loved everything about it, but the world building probably most of all. I love and completely understand your Harry Potter reference: the world was so well-constructed and different from everything I know, and yet I felt so perfectly at home in it.

    I was nodding the entire time while reading your review, and I just can't put into words how amazing I thought it was. And the fact that the world building was just as good as that of Daughter of Smoke and Bone makes me want to pick THAT one up immediately!

    And thanks so much for linking my review! <3

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    1. Yup, yup! Phenomenal is right. I'm glad you get me and my Harry Potter references, Judith! So well said - that's exactly how I felt!!

      And OH YES you MUST read Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I would actually say the world building in that one is EVEN better. The BEST. Highly recommended!!

      Thanks for your comment :)

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