Monday, May 28, 2012

Review: Shadow and Bone

Book: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Grisha #1
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Pages: 368
Source: Raincoast Books & Macmillan (Thank you so much!)
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon CA | The Book Depository | Chapters
Stars: 5/5
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.
(summary taken from Goodreads)  

There's no doubt in my mind that this will end up being one of the BEST books of the entire year! Best world, best heroine, best writing, best romance... There are just so many breathtaking things in this book, I can't believe I ever had a doubt!  

Shadow and Bone is high fantasy at its best. (There's that word again!) The world-building of Ravka is flawless. It makes you believe and fear the terrible Shadow Fold that splits it in two, with its ravenous monsters, but there's never an overwhelming dump of information. It's always showing not telling, captivating not repelling, and kind of perfect which I don't say for high fantasy very often (or at all)! 

Alina smart, strong, vulnerable Alina is one of my favourite heroines ever! She's not blindingly beautiful or perfect with her new found ability at first; she doesn't always know the right thing to say or the right people to trust. But she's one of the most REAL characters I've ever met, and she grows, learns, and loses so much that I almost wish I didn't care about her like I do so it wouldn't hurt as much. But of course, with Alina, that's impossible! 

And I loved the rest of the cast too especially the Darkling, who seriously brings a new definition to the word mysterious, and Mal, for never giving up on Alina and always being the sweetest best friend ever! The romance is really a spoiler on its own, but I promise it's not your average best-friends-plus-one romance. I adored it so much!

Also, I can't even say whether or not I expected the big twist near the end because I was so enamoured by the everything that I didn't pause a second to make any guesses!

With some of the best writing and most brilliant worlds ever, Shadow and Bone will undoubtedly be topping people's favourites lists everywhere. I can honestly say that it's my favourite high fantasy book of all time... and that's coming from a fantasy-loving girl. ;)

BUY or BORROW?: You will buy this book and love it and be at Leigh Bardugo's feet with me, begging to read the sequel! This is an absolute MUST, and I can't even stress how buy-worthy it is enough! (Want a reminder? Count the number of times I used "best" in this review!) 



  1. Great review! I can't wait to read this one. :))

    Kari Po-Ku Reads

  2. I just preordered this based on your review alone. You've done what no one else could, you've convinced me not only to read this, but to preorder it, and I know I'll be checking The Book Depository anxiously until they ship it.
    I'm reading The Book of Blood and Shadow and, judging by your words, Alina is a lot like Nora, which is a HUGE plus, if you ask me.
    Thank you for another gorgeous review, gorgeous person. <3 <3 <3

  3. I loved everything about this book (which you already know!) The characters were perfect, the world-building was perfect... I loved it all! Awesome review, Mimi. I'm SO glad that you were blown away by this book too. I think it might be one of my favourite fantasy books of all time too. ;)

  4. Oh... Wait a moment, I think I'm going to buy this one right now. OH MY GOSH Mimi, how can you do that to me? Finals are next week and I don't have a moment to spare but now I want to read Shadow and Bone so bad!! I think I'm going to buy it, drool over the cover once it's sitting on my shelf, and as soon as I'm done with my lat exam, start reading it! Yup, sounds like a plan to me.

    Anyways! I honestly loved your review ♥. It's just, the world (fantasy! yay!), the heroine, the romance... You make it sound so awesome I don't think I have a choice but to read it (which I'll be more than happy to) :D

  5. *jumps up and down* me want this book.. NOW!!! I can#t freaking wait for this one and ... but thank goodness June is just around the corner!!! I want to meet mysterious Darklings! and .. I want to meet this cast and .. basically I want to experience this superior feeling of awesome when reading this book! *hugs*

  6. I started frantically searching for this one after I read your review and just realised it's not out yet!! Darn! Now I have to wait for it :( I am a major high fantasy lover and I thought there wasn't anything good out there at the moment!

  7. Ughh......I've heard nothing but awesome things about this book! I need this book NOW! Why, oh why is this the one book I couldn't get an ARC of?!?!? Whoever said "patience is a virtue" obviously has never waited for an awesome book to come out :P Awesome review! You've made me want it even more!!! Which I honestly didn't know was possible o_O

    All the best ♥
    Mackenzie @ Oh, For the Love of Books!

  8. Wonderful review! My copy of this book is coming very, very soon in the mail. Man . . . can't wait to read it!

  9. I can't wait to read this book Mimi! And you're review has made me even more excited about it's release! And I'm not typically a huge fantasy fan! I hope June 5th hurries up already! Fab review my love! :)

  10. Great review Mimi! Your enthusiasm makes me want to read Shadow and Bone right away - it definitely sounds like it's going to be epic. I just watched the book trailer and the fantasy aspect looks extremely exciting. This is so on my list to read as soon as it is released!

    Thank you so much for sharing Mimi - have a great Monday! <3

  11. Great review! Added to my TBR list - thanks!

  12. I'm not a big fantasy reader, but your raving review has me wanting this book now! Everything sounds perfect about it. I'm adding it to my wish list and am so ready to be blown away by this story! As always, love your enthusiasm Mimi!!

    Kristan @ Lost Amongst the Shelves

  13. As always, you blow me away with your great reviews and you make me want to buy the book immediately! You did a great job on making me enthusiastic, but my wallet is not so happy with you, haha :p I love the fact that the character feels so real! That always something I like in a book, because you can identify yourself with them. She even is your favourite heroin, wow, that is a huge promise. Ánd a great cast, that's a second thing I adore in books ^^ having nice characters surrouding the hero/heroin.

    Thaaaaaanks Mimi!

  14. Dear! Im currently reading it right now!! =P and Im loving it so far! though Im going slow cuz at the same time Im reading a contemporary I feel like reading contemporary) and then I'll pick up this one again. What I read totally blew my mind but I put it aside cuz I felt and strong urge to read COntemp. XDD lol.
    Excellent review my dear! If this one is now your favorite fantasy... HOLY COW! it will be mine as well!!


  15. Oh, I am so happy to see your rave review of this! I have a copy to be read very soon and I was wondering if it would be any good. But the number of times you used best and your description of Alina sound very promising. I can't wait to start it!

  16. Actually, I highlighted the word 'best' in your review, Mimi, and found out NINE! Gosh, this must be one of the BEST read in 2012 for you! <3 I loved your review - full of enthusiasm and sweetness like always! This book sounds TOTALLY PERFECT. <3 I read so many sparkling reviews of this book, and each review just convinces me to buy it when it comes out! I mean, WOW. x)

    I haven't read many fantasy lately, so this one is on the must buy list for me! Hopefully I'm going to enjoy it just as much as you and everyone else did! x)

    Fabulous and amazing review, Mimi - you successfully convince me to love this book even before I read it! :D

  17. YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!! I'm so glad you loved this one Mimi, I absolutely ADORED it! I agree with you on the romance, you can't really say much about it, but I loved how things played out, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. I need book 2 to please come out tomorrow, waiting for it is going to be near impossible:)


  18. I didn't think it was possible but I AM EVEN MORE EXCITED, MIMI!!! You already know I'm jonesing to read this book and I'm glad it's coming out so soon! I love how you love this, haha. Alina sounds absolutely wonderful and I'm glad the other characters are great too! Best (haha see what I did!) review, Mimi. <3

  19. I'm reading this one right now and I'm really loving it!!! It is taking me awhile to get used to the names, but I still love it :) Great review!!!

    Anna @ Literary Exploration

  20. Excellent review Mimi! I agree with you completely. I read this book months ago and I still can't stop thinking about it! :D The setting was so beautiful!

  21. Sounds like a great cast of characters coupled with a great story. That always makes for great reading. And if this book is making your best lists for the year then I know this is yet another one I need to check out. Aline sounds like the kind of character I'd enjoy since she's realistic and strong!

  22. Fantasy at its best and one of the best books of the year? I am totally sold! Im so glad that you loved this book so much. I just got this for review last week and now I want to read it right away!

  23. MIMI!!! I cannot even begin to tell you how stoked I am that you loved this book - and that you wrote a review on it - and that now I've made my decision...I'm going to buy it. I'm going to a signing with Marissa Meyer (Cinder), Anna Banks (Of Poseidon), Emmy Laybourne (Monument 14), and, you guessed it, Leigh Bardugo!! :D I have Cinder and wanted to get one of the other three books - Shadow and Bone it is, then! :D

    Great review Mimi! I can't wait to fall in love with this book like you did! :D

  24. Awesome! Spectacular! I can't believe I still haven't read this one and I have a copy. I am all about world building and I know I will appreciate the attention to detail but add in gorgeous writing and I am on board! Got to start soon! I can't wait! Have a great Monday, Mimi!

  25. Best was said at least Six times , not that I blame you I have heard nothing but superb things about this book I can not wait to get my hands on it! I want to read it, like NOW! and thanks to your review I am even more desperate!

    Amazing review, Mimi as usual Have a great Day!

  26. Aaah! Possibly on your list of best books of the year? WHOO!!! Lol. I will say this: Shadow and Bone is definitely on my list of most anticipated books of 2012, so I'm excited to read it! I was lucky enough to get a review copy, and it's second to next on my to-read list! Can't wait!

  27. Mimi, this sounds so awesome! Sam already praised this highly so with two of my good GR friends loving it, I MUST read it. Lovely review, dahling! :)

  28. YAY!!! I have heard wonderful things about this book and the fact that it has a fabulous romance is so exciting!!!!!!!! I am not a huge fan of the cover but the fact that it has a blurb from Veronica Roth is a pretty big deal!!!! OMG I am like jumping up and down in my seat in excitement!!!!! I want to read this NOW!!! It sounds like the perfect summer read and if it is any bit as good as you say it is I know I am going to love it. Realistic characters, a cool fantasy, and adorable romance...EEK!!!! Everything a book lover could want all wrapped into one!!!!!!!!! Fabulous review Mimi!!!!

    Oh and thanks for stopping by my blog...I missed you too!!!!! It's so great to be back!


  29. High fantasy can be a real hit or miss with me. I don't read too many of them and was unsure about this one. Alina sounds like an awesome main character. It's always nice to have a real character that is easy to connect to. The love triangle sounds rather awful. lol I always want the heroine to pick her best friend that has always been by her side but they usually end up with the mysterious bad boy. Big twist endings are always exciting. I love when I can't guess what is coming. Great review! Thanks for sharing a good high fantasy recommendation.

  30. OH MY GOD. I NEEEEEEEEEEEEED THIS BOOK. I cannot handle these gushing reviews anymore! I've been waiting to see what you thought of this ever since you flaunted on your blog when it first arrived, and it's s afe to say I possibly want to kill you even more now :) But I still LOVE you, don't worry! It's purely a jealous rage kind of kill!

    GAH. This sounds like.... the BEST :P SO incredible. Alina is totally my kinda heroine and I love when you care about a character so much that you feel pain when they suffer. Oooh and hellooo Mal and the mysterious Darkling! Mighty interested in meeting you both ;)

    SO effing eager to discover the world Leigh has crafted. I'm sure I'll be at her feet when I get to read it, but right now? I'm at YOUR feet, thanking you for the amazing review ;)

  31. I so totally agree! I freaking loved this book! And I loved how shocked I was by the twist! This is definitely an easier fantasy to read but it definitely wasn't lacking anything!
    Awesome review!

  32. This book sounds like what I've been waiting for so long! I'VE BEEN DYING TO READ A GOOD "BEST FRIENDS TURNED LOVERS" ROMANCE. That. together with everything you said, makes me want to live in North America just so I could get a copy the instant it's released.


  33. I have this one in my TBR pile and have avoided reading the reviews for this one but have managed to catch that most people seem to love it. I love fantasy so I'm thrilled that this one's worldbuilding is amazing and the romance and characters sound awesome. Lol, Mimi, stop trying to disrupt my reading order!

  34. Oh, I'm so glad you enjoyed it so much! I think it sounds super good, but I've been a bit scared to pick it up. o: You make me regret it a lot though! And ooh, best romance? I so can't miss that. ;) LOL. Great review, Mimi!

  35. Beautiful review Mimi!! You totally convinced me!! I will read it ;) ;)

  36. ...

    OK, I totally grew up on high fantasy. It was my first reading love--there's still little I love more than a fabulous high fantasy (shall we talk about Kristin Cashore?).

    But. then... you go and write this review, and make it sound even MORE amazing. I mean... SERIOUSLY :O

    And characterisation as brilliant and perfect and real as this? Oh, you have SOLD me! Perfections!

  37. OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG MIMIIIII! I KNEW YOU WOULD LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE THIS<33333 hehee I remember reading Sam's review of this like A MILLION YEARS ago (LOL) and then I saw your status update on goodreads, AND I JUST KNEW YOU WOULD LOVE IT<3 heheeee I cannot wait to read it!!!!!! Okayyy so this sounds like a very FANTASY-LIKE sort of FANTASY book (That did not make any sense either :/) ANYWAY I CAN'T WAIT TO READ IT<33 Alina sounds like the PERFECT heroine! I'm so glad she isn't PERFECT though :) hehee Gahhh MIMIIII YOU'RE MAKING MEEE SO DESPERATE FOR THIS! Goshhh this NEEDS to be released in Aus. alreadyy!!! PERFECT review Mimiii<333

  38. I just put up a review that has a different outlook on this book.. check it out :)


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