Rick Riordan's Reviews > Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
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So many YA fantasy romances out there these days. You would think it would be hard to put a fresh spin on the concept, but Leigh Bardugo makes it look easy. Her debut Shadow and Bone takes Russian folklore and mythology and creates an alternate tsarist Russia (Ravka) where magic and military might coexist uneasily. Imagine a cross between Cashore's Graceling and Westerfeld's Leviathan . . . and yet Shadow and Bone is unique.

Our main characters, Alina and Mal, grow up as orphans at the estate of a kindly duke, until the time comes for them to serve their country. Both are tested by the Grisha, an ancient and powerful order of magicians, but neither show aptitude, so Mal becomes an accomplished military tracker, while Alina studies as an army cartographer and has nothing to look forward to but a mundane existence. Homely and scrawny, Alina watches as her dashing, handsome best friend Mal, whom she secretly loves, gets attention from all the girls.

Their lives change when their regiment is ordered across the Shadow Fold, a deadly rift of darkness that cuts Ravka in two, separating the eastern capital from its ports in West Ravka. When the caravan is attacked by gargoyle-like monsters called volcra, Alina discovers powers she didn't know she had. Immediately, she becomes the most important person in the kingdom, the target of enemy assassins, and is whisked away to the palace of the Darkling, the head of the Grisha and right hand of the king, to learn the ways of magic. Alina might hold the secret to destroying the Shadow Fold and saving Ravka, but only if she survives her enemies -- some from other countries, some from within the kingdom itself.

Shadow and Bone works on every level. It's a believable and poignant romance. It's a great mystery in which the villains and heroes are not at all who they seem. It's a first-rate adventure. Maybe I was especially drawn to this book because I got to visit Russia last summer and can easily imagine the Grisha slipping through the corridors of the Winter Palace, but I suspect this book will appeal to many readers even if they have no knowledge of Russian history. I'll be anxiously waiting for the second book in the series!
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
November 7, 2013 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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Ellie A. Have you read Six of Crows yet? It's even better and the next book is coming out this month!


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Ms. Marvel Omg loved this book


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Fiona S Ahhh! One of my fav authors loves a book by another one of my fav authors!


Delia I have been debating picking up this book (Having read Leigh's Six of Crows and Wonder Woman) for so long, but if Rick Riordan raves about it, I'll be damned if it isn't next on my TBR! Wonderful review, I'm now even more excited to pick this up :)


Mehrin One of my FAVOURITE books ever!


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Anson Wong Lol the only experience i have ever had with russia is csgo where i learn’t the ever popular phrase “cyka blyat”. Definitely gonna pick up this book.


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