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Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone

Book - 2012
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Orphaned by the Border Wars, Alina Starkov is taken from obscurity and her only friend, Mal, to become the protegé of the mysterious Darkling, who trains her to join the magical elite in the belief that she is the Sun Summoner, who can destroy the monsters of the Fold.
Publisher: New York : Henry Holt, 2012
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780805094596
0805094598
Branch Call Number: YA BARDUGO
Characteristics: 358 pages : map ; 22 cm

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Fantasy Checklist Challenge: Young Adult

Young adult novels appeal to many people, often because of the plot-driven storylines, but also because they’re about people finding themselves through turmoil, whether it’s a breakup or the world literally ending. The protagonist enters the book (or series) unsure and unformed, and leaves stronger, wiser, and often a leader in their world, whether it’s a high school or an entire universe. (more)


From Library Staff

Orphaned soldier Alina enters a lavish world of royalty and intrigue as she trains with the Grisha, her country’s magical military elite—and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. (Also available as an eBook.)


From the critics


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e
eliek05
Jun 23, 2021

4 Stars
13+

Shadow and Bone is a solid and enjoyable young adult fantasy novel that does a wonderful job of introducing the reader to the “Grishaverse''. The book follows a girl named Alina who believes she is an ordinary orphan who makes maps for her country’s army and is hopelessly in love with her childhood best friend, Mal. Their country, Ravka, is ruled by a royal family and a man called the Darkling. The Darkling is in charge of the part of Ravka’s army that is made up of people with “magical” powers, who are called Grisha. Other countries in the Shadow and Bone world kill, kidnap, or enslave Grisha, but in Ravka they are recruited into the army and live at the palace. Alina’s story begins when she unexpectedly discovers her Grisha powers when crossing what is called “the Fold”. The Fold, a dark and dangerous shadow that splits Ravka in half, was created by an ancestor of the Darkling and can only be destroyed by the power of light. The Darkling discovers that Alina has this power, and he brings her to the palace in order to work with her to take it down.

The author, Leigh Bardugo, is very good at world building so it’s easy to settle into this book and the world created by it. Shadow and Bone leaves many questions unanswered, so by the end you’re left wanting to read more. One thing that I didn’t love about it is that the author uses familiar and way overused conflicts (like the love triangle) and character types (like the “chosen one”, the tragic villain, the jealous female character). Love triangles can be frustrating and make you feel like the plot is just going in circles, and the idea of a “chosen one” seems ridiculous by now because of how often it shows up in fantasy (Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Percy Jackson, etc). All of that aside, Shadow and Bone really is a great YA fantasy and I’d recommend it to anyone. It’s also even more fun to read now because it has been turned into a show on Netflix!

j
jsadakhom
Jun 23, 2021

I picked this book up because I heard it would be on Netflix and I fell in love with the world. This is the first book in the Grishaverse, (which includes: Shadow and Bone trilogy, Six of Crows duology, and King of Scars duology).

The book is told from Alina Starkov’s perspective. She is a mapmaker in the 1st army in Ravka. One day, she finds her best friend Mal in danger and protects him with her powers. Alina has always thought she was some ordinary girl but now she has these new powers she’s had her whole life without knowing. I won’t lie, I don’t normally gravitate towards the ‘chosen one’ type of books but I was so immersed in the world.

This book is fast paced and I really enjoyed that. There were lots of events and a decent plot. I recommend reading if you want to explore the Grishaverse books as this one introduces you to world building. Overall, this book had a world that felt so real and unique magical powers.

-----SPOILER-----

Quotes:

“The Darkling slumped back in his chair. “Fine,” he said with a weary shrug. “Make me your villain.”

“Mal,” I whispered into the night.
“What?”
“Thanks for finding me.”
I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming, but somewhere in the dark, I thought I heard him whisper, “Always.”

l
lilymmurray
Jun 22, 2021

Alina Starkov is an orphan, she has lived her life thinking that she was no more than a mere ordinary girl. That is until she finds out she is Grisha. She all of a sudden is thrown into the world of the magical beings, and she is told she is the sole saviour of the land. She is the sun summoner. She is mentored and trained in all the name of saving the world. Her new “boss” of sorts, is a powerful dark Grisha. “The Darkling”, as they call him, is convinced only she can save it. Then, everything goes wrong.

I liked this book, it was way too slow paced for my liking and I found Alina to be a bit unbearable at times. I am also tired of the “chosen one” trope. Overall I think the Grishaverse is super cool, the magic powers aren’t at all impressive, except for the heart renders, but it seems truly magical. The twist was predictable but the love story really saved this book for me.

w
Wako
Jun 05, 2021

Shadow and Bone, a YA fantasy novel by Leigh Bardugo, is a perfectly serviceable piece of fiction, but with little unique or exceptional to set it apart. Orphaned protagonists, magical powers, a love triangle, a school or academy for training up magical being, stop me if you’ve heard this one before… So, what makes this book special? The worldbuilding is an interesting deviation from the Western-centric norm, as this world has a distinctly Russian twinge to it. I am interested enough to try the second book in the series, but if it wasn’t for all of the positive buzz I’ve heard around this series, I would mostly likely stop after book one.

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wingertdj
May 12, 2021

“Shadow & Bone” by Leigh Bardugo has a great premise and she creates an interesting world. It is a YA novel, which I can and do enjoy even at my advanced age. This book seems as though it is written for tweens and maybe it was. The local is generic, though the names seem to be Russian. Once the heroine’s power is discovered, we get a rehash of the usual fish out of water, mean and backstabbing girls, Harry Potter lite fare. That said, I still was able to enjoy the book, though I have no intention to read the sequels.

s
SolvayGirl
May 09, 2021

3.75 Stars.
Bardugo has created an exciting world and system of magic, but oh how I wish someone would write a YA series without a tiresome love triangle.
Though some of the book was a bit predictable, especially the ending,—I'm old and have been reading fantasy for a very long time—Bardugo's world was so unique I could cut her some slack. As a whole, this was a very fun read, though it will be a while before I read the next installment since I only have time for audiobooks, and thanks to an exclusive contract with Audible I'd need to buy it as I did this one. My library does not carry the audiobooks. After reading the reviews of Book Two, which were not stellar, I am not ready to spend the money on something that I may not enjoy even as much as I did this one, and if you read my following aside you'll see why I spent the money to buy Book One.

AN ASIDE: I read this in preparation to watch the series on Netflix, then was confused when an entirely new set of characters and storyline showed up in the series. I had to go online and query as to who these people were. Did I miss a huge swath of the book? No, I just hadn't read Bardugo's Crow duology set in the same universe. No need to buy and read Book Two since the second Netflix season will likely go off on it's own trajectory.

s
sjarrell0
Apr 22, 2021

After years of hearing about this book I was curious to know what all the excitement over it was about. After reading the first chapter I found the answer. The world building is incredibly and creatively done. The relationships between the characters are intricate. The twists are unexpected.

But one of the main reasons why this story is so compelling is because of the unknown origin of Alina’s story/ powers & the Darkling’s motivations and decisions. And of course the friendship between Alina & Mal which is possibly my favorite thing maybe EVER.

Loved this story with all of my heart. Can’t wait to see what happens next!

b
BeauCoquelicot
Apr 08, 2021

CF Sci Fi Rec

WPL_Erin Mar 18, 2021

2.75
It was fine. More world building and character development would have been nice. I still don’t really know what Alina, Mal or even The Darkling (to some extent) looks like. I also felt like I was playing catch-up a lot of the time with all the terminology and types of Grisha.

I honestly would have just liked more. Not because I loved the story but because everything felt half explained. The story was entertaining if a bit predictable. But a lot felt like it was too easy. Her training was too easy, and all of a sudden she’s a master? I would have liked more of a build up, a bit of tension here and there. Honestly I think I might just be done with YA fantasy unfortunately. Everything I read lately leaves me unsatisfied, which has me thinking I need to move on.

LoganLib_Sheridan Mar 11, 2021

Look, Six of Crows will always be my favorite books of the Grisha universe but I did find a new appreciation for these books on my re-read in preparation for the series on Netflix. I don't know if it was because I was listening via audiobook or having enjoyed SoC so much.

I think the love triangle in this book was interesting, Mal is very forgiving and loyal. I am also concerned as to why have to keep making villain's attractive (come to the dark side we have cookies?). Even when they know he's evil they still follow him!

Leigh is amazing at world building, you are introduced to the world at exactly the right pace and understanding just seems to come seamlessly. The world has a russianesque or steam punk feel but is also completely original with Grisha who are magicians... but also not (according to them anyway). I also love all the different types of Grisha and the sub classifications. It's also interesting how there is a hierarchy.

I kind of like this getting caught up in the swirl of things trope. Alina is a nobody and then all of a sudden she's Somebody. I think it would very easy to get caught up in this and ignore warning signs. There is a lot going for Alina as she is pretty much thrust into a new life.

I love the complex relationships Leigh Bardugo weaves. I think both SaB and SoC are very character based but I think SoC has a bit more action and plot though this could also be because this is the first book.

I'm having fun rereading this because I really can't remember what happens. I'm barely even having those 'uh-huh' moments where you remember what's happening as you're reading! So that's making things interesting and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series because I can't remember what happens!

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indigo_wolf_391
Mar 24, 2021

indigo_wolf_391 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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blue_snake_2268
Aug 21, 2020

blue_snake_2268 thinks this title is suitable for 1 years and over

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tcandelaria1799
Jul 16, 2019

tcandelaria1799 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 14 and 21

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blue_cat_14499
Apr 22, 2019

blue_cat_14499 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 17

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missq12
Jul 18, 2018

missq12 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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red_wolf_2525
Dec 28, 2017

red_wolf_2525 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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rapunzel454
Dec 22, 2017

rapunzel454 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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3je82rs9
Oct 12, 2017

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white_wolf_80
Jun 04, 2017

white_wolf_80 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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c_tine
May 16, 2017

c_tine thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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Quotes

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The problem with wanting is that it makes us weak.

How right he was. I’d wanted so badly to belong somewhere, anywhere. I’d been so eager to please him, so proud to keep his secrets. But I’d never bothered to question what he might really want, what his true motives might be. I’d been too busy imagining myself by his side, the savior of Ravka, most treasured, most desired, like some kind of queen. I’d made it so easy for him.

You and I are going to change the world. Just wait.

i
indigo_wolf_391
Mar 24, 2021

" ' There's nothing wrong with being a lizard either. Unless you were born to be a hawk.' "

i
indigo_wolf_391
Mar 24, 2021

" ' We all did our part to bring about the end of the world.' "

c
chelseawen
Jul 28, 2020

"They are orphans again with no true home but each other and whatever life they can make together on the other side of the sea." - Leigh Bardugo

p
pink_beaver_150
Jun 04, 2019

how do this

n
Nymeria23
Jun 27, 2015

“You're shaking."
"I'm not used to people trying to kill me."
"Really? I hardly notice anymore.”

whitefalcon17 Sep 03, 2014

“I missed you every hour. And you know what the worst part was? It caught me completely by surprise. I'd catch myself just walking around to find you, not for any reason, just out of habit, because I'd seen something that I wanted to tell you about or because I wanted to hear your voice. And then I'd realize that you weren't there anymore, and every time, every single time, it was like having the wind knocked out of me. I've risked my life for you. I've walked half the length of Ravka for you, and I'd do it again and again and again just to be with you, just to starve with you and freeze with you and hear you complain about hard cheese every day. So don't tell me why we don't belong together," he said fiercely.”

p
pineapplemango
Jul 17, 2012

“I missed you every hour. And you know what the worst part was? It caught me completely by surprise. I'd catch myself just walking around to find you, not for any reason , just out of habit, because I'd seen something that I wanted to tell you about or because I wanted to hear your voice. And then I'd realize that you weren't there anymore, and every time, every single time, it was like having the wind knocked out of me. I've risked my life for you. I've walked half the length of Ravka for you, and I'd do it again and again and again just to be with you, just to starve with you and freeze with you and hear you complain about hard cheese every day. So don't tell me why we don't belong together," he said fiercely.”

p
pineapplemango
Jul 17, 2012

“How did you fare with the Queen?" he asked.
"I have no idea," I said honestly. "Everything she said was perfectly nice, but the whole time she was looking at me as if I were something her dog spit up.”

p
pineapplemango
Jul 17, 2012

“I had spared the stag's life. The power of that life belonged to me as surely as it belonged to the man who had taken it.”

Summary

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whitefalcon17 Sep 03, 2014

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 fulfill 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.

Notices

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n
Nymeria23
Jun 27, 2015

Violence: Man chopped in half, volcra attacks/deaths, etc

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