Book Review: Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo

Hi there!

If you’ve forgotten about my existence, I don’t blame you. I disappeared from the reading world for 4 whole months.


So my name is Joanne, I own and run this book blog, Lumiereads/Luna Lumiere/Joanne Lumiere. Yes this book blog honestly doesn’t have a set name. Sorry about that.

I procrastinated and had so much work and procrastinated and kept making excuses for myself so I stopped reading for a few months.

But hopefully the cycle will continue to break, and the ice has already been broken by the lovely Leigh Bardugo.

Without further ado!


Name: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Square Fish
Release Date: June 5, 2017 (1st pub Jun 5, 2012)


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.

Book Cover Comments

So the OG grey cover definitely grounds the fact that the book has Russian roots, and looks super duper fancy, dark and cool. But I read the SquareFish paperback so let’s talk about that: I love the shades of blue together to create a lovely harmony, and god that stag. PLOT POINT!!!! WINK WINK!!

The Review

Ok so people keep telling me that the Six of Crows Duology is better than the Shadow and Bone trilogy. For all of you, you’ve kept my hopes up and I hope that that shall be true.

So honestly in combination with my book slump+current mood+constant exhaustion, I can really only give this book maximum a 3.5. I can’t love this book more, but I can’t be less interested than I am. I’m super invested to learn what happens next in the story.

Leigh is really. Really. VERY. Good. at magic and world building. I read the little interview that came with this new inspiration and learnt that she took a lot of her inspiration from Asia/Europe/Euroasia (CHINA! HELLO?) so I thought that was super duper cool. Though I have no understanding of Russia/Soviet Union, using that as a starting point was definitely intriguing.

Leigh’s concept of magic, how different Grisha (the special kids) got sorted into different factions/houses based on their ability, and the best part about it was THEY HAD TO WEAR COLOR-CODED CLOTHING. NOW HOW SHEEK IS THAT.

yes i’m a fashion geek sorry i love clothes

I was also honestly so touched to learn that the word Grisha, other than meaning Grigori (to watch and observe), also referred to Geisha (did i mention i love everything Japan?), to give the concept an alluring elegance (DINGDINGDINGIDNG!!)

Okay okay enough distractions, time to move on to plot and character.

The plot in the first half of the book, I must admit, wasn’t the most hooking. But then again it could just be my mood. It was your typical fantasy startup, but I think we can all agree here that the world and concept building MADE you want to know what happens next. Then in the second half of the book we get PLOT TWIST after PLOT POINT after DINGALING-MOMENTS after HOLYCRAPWHATJUSTHAPPENED after-

ok let’s stop

It was definitely super exciting, seeing our MC, Alina, grow as the plot progresses. This story is about self-love, about respecting yourself for who you are, about accepting every part of yourself and not to hold yourself back, and to find yourself among the world that you don’t feel like you fit in anywhere. Alina was a very strong character by the end of the book, and I am very looking forward to see what other miracles she will pull in the later chapters of this tale.

Our lovely and mysterious Darkling, oh this dude. He is, as the synopsis says, alluring, eccentric, secretive, maybe a drop of handsome in there, but I LOVVVVED his character. For a villain, he is definitely one of the most interesting ones that I’ve seen, and a lot of effort has been put into building his character to give him great significance that really helps drive the story to its current level.

So as your girl here was a few years late to the Leigh Bardugo party, she is happy to tell you that she genuinely enjoyed the first ever book of the Grisha Universe that Leigh gave birth to, and I am definitely looking for more!……..

……when I finish my current pile of books.

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Joanne Lumiere

Joanne is the narcissistic founder of her book blog, Joanne Lumiere. Born and raised in Hong Kong, this 18 year old brat is currently attending college in Los Angeles, and still doesn't know how to read books with sophistication, and yet she runs a blog.

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