Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – Review .. of sorts.

Posted 17 August, 2012 by Danny in Blog, Danny, Danny's Book Review, Pushy, Pushy Book Review / 45 Comments

Shadow and Bone

Genre: YA Fantasy
Published June 5th 2012 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Copy purchased by us
Get your own: amazon | BookDepository 
format: eBook, Hardcover

Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, the one thing she could rely on was her best friend and fellow refugee, Mal. And lately not even that seems certain. Drafted into the army of their war-torn homeland, they’re sent on a dangerous mission into the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh.

When their convoy is attacked, all seems lost until Alina reveals a dormant power that not even she knew existed. Ripped from everything she knows, she is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. He believes she is the answer the people have been waiting for: the one person with the power to destroy the Fold.

Swept up in a world of luxury and illusion, envied as the Darkling’s favorite, Alina struggles to fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But as the threat to the kingdom mounts, Alina uncovers a secret that sets her on a collision course with the most powerful forces in the kingdom. Now only her past can save her . . . and only she can save the future.


Have you heard of Shadow and Bone before? I bet you have! Were you also a little wary about the hype surrounding this book? I know we have – whenever a book is hyped so much and praised so much I’m a little scared to read it… but… do not fear – because – it deserved every praise! Today, we have also a special review for you guys since Pushy and I joined forces to tell you about this exciting book!



So, Pushy! Why did you pick up Shadow and Bone and what did you expect from it? 

Pushy:  Because I live under a rock, I had not heard about this book before it came out and found myself learning about it from the author herself when I attended a book signing for the Fierce Reads tour.  You may remember this book signing, dear Danny, as I got to meet your one true love, Anna Banks, there.  🙂  Anyway, Leigh Bardugo not only impressed me by her enthusiasm for her book and her story behind how she thought it up, she completely hooked me with the fact that it’s based loosely on Russian tsarist era (hello? LOVE!) and on her descriptions of how her career as a  makeup artist in LA influenced her character building.  How anyone walked away from that signing not interested in this book, I just don’t know!

How did you hear about the book, Danny?

Danny: How could I have not heard of it? It was all over the Blogging world and everything was raving about it… it was actually hard to mis… 


Let’s talk about the world building, shall we? 

Danny: Whenever reading fantasy I am fascinated by the creative mind of the author. To create a new world full of new rules where basically you can make up anything just because you wish to. The Grisha world is phenomenally rich and full of magic! The Grisha are those who are magically talented and they are treated like rock stars in this world. They hold all the power and have all the wealth to live a glorious life. But, they are also soldiers for the king.

Pushy:  I completely agree with you on loving fantasy and how rich and full this world Ms. Bardugo constructed is!  I love the back story about the Shadow Fold, how the reader’s and Alina’s understanding grows throughout the book.  I also loved all the details about court life and the role of the Grisha.  They are rock stars.  But they’re also a bit like birds in a gilded cage….beautiful but completely under the control of the King.  And then there’s the Darkling and his history….there’s a lot that was laid out in this book and so much I’m dying to learn more about in the next!

The story is told from Alina’s POV. How would you describe Alina and how did you like her? 

Danny: I loved that Alina seemed like a normal girl. She was not utterly and perfectly brave, but she showed enough strength when she needed it. She was not without flaws, but that made her very genuine. I truly liked her, she was a great heroine who grew so much during this story!

Pushy:  “She was not without flaws” LOL!!!!!  Alina’s such a crab-ass!!!!  It’s like her inner self is some 80 year old man who walks around the house in his underware and black knee high socks complaining how nothing is as good as it was back in his day and how the neighborhood kids need to get off of his lawn.  AND I LOVED THIS ABOUT HER!!!!!

Danny: Holy freaking Cow – did you just said: “Her inner self is some 80 year old man who walks around the house in his underware and black knee high socks complaining how nothing is as good as it was back in his day and how the neighborhood kids need to get off of his lawn” – Now.. I am dying here!!! Sorry to interrupt.. but did you really wrote that? OMG ..lool

Pushy: Alina’s complicated, so filled with self doubt that I don’t think she’s ever spent a comfortable day in her own skin.  Then her world is completely upended and she’s brought to the court where life is so surreal, it’s amazing she can cope at all.  Through it all though, she remains herself and I honestly loved her from page one so I was happy that her experiences allowed her to grow but not change who she truly was.

Let’s come to the most delicious part: The Darkling! *swoons* 

Danny: Seriously, he was the most complex, most fascinating and most awesome character! He’s the type of man I fall for in literature, mysterious strong, powerful and … sexy! He totally captured me and intrigued me…

Pushy: *fans herself*  The Darkling is hot…superhot…SUPERNOVA HOT!!!!!  He’s so powerful and mysterious and has just the right hint of vulnerability that I was completely swooning over him from the start.  And I completely imagined him as a Johnny Depp sort of dark character.

Who did you picture for him, Danny?

Danny: Oh god Pushy did you just throw Johnny Depp inside this conversation?!? Hm, do I picture the Darkling? I found this image on  Leigh’s homepage .. and OMG.. this is so him! 

We are both romantic at heart and need a good romance, did we find this here, what do you think? 

Danny: Yes, we did get romance and a quite complex one I might add. Because on top of having this mysterious man called The Darkling, we also have Alina’s childhood friend in the picture.. Does this seems like  a Love Triangle..

Pushy:  Yes!!! And best of all we got a complicated romance where there are no easy answers and I loved both men.  This is going to be one hell of a ride for Alina’s heart and I’m just rubbing my greedy paws together imagining what’s next for her!

What did you enjoy most about Shadow and Bone? 

Danny: Definitely, the complexity and richness of the world. It was phenomenally set with a mysterious landscape, dark and light magic to round of this fantastic world. The storyline was amazing, getting to know the world, following Alina on her path to become a Grisha and the mystery surrounding Alina and The Darkling! I was mesmerized!

Pushy:  The world is amazing but for me it was the characters, hands down.  This world is populated with amazingly rich characters and Ms. Bardugo illuminates them so fully that I felt so often that I was there, in the book with them.


Which leads to the question, who was your favorite secondary character?

Pushy:  Genya!!!!!  Fabulously beautiful and nearly enslaved at the court, this Grisha has a lot more to her than meets the eye.  Plus her unrequited love for David, a fellow Grisha who is so involved in his work that he can’t see the insanely gorgeous woman who’s practically throwing herself at him, allows us to see so much more of the complicated underpinnings of this character that I loved ever scene she was in.  Genya seriously threatens to steal the show in this book and I adored her!


Most important questions: Would you recommend Shadow and Bone… and will you read the sequel? 

Pushy:  You’re joking, right???  Anyone who hasn’t read this needs to do so immediately.  Download it now to your phone, folks, and start reading!  You’ll suck this bad boy down in a matter of hours, it’s truly that compelling.  And sequel, um…YES PLEASE NOW PLEASE PRETTY PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Danny: OMG yes on both accounts! Everyone who loved a rich story with mysterious characters set in a fantasy world needs to read this book! Truly! And yes I know I will read the sequel the minute it comes out! I cannot wait to find out more about Alina, the Grisha’s and.. *swoon* The Darkling!

Bewitched Rating




Additional Info:

If you want to know more about this series, please visit Leigh Bardugo’s website, you will find a lot of additional info, pronunciation guide, maps and other fun stuff!

You must watch thus trailer of epic awesomness!


 Much love and … get lost in a book…


Obsessive Reader by Night – Scientist at Day!
You can also find me on goodreads. I’d love to get to know you so, don’t be shy and say Hello!

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45 Responses to “Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – Review .. of sorts.”

  1. Haha! I wrote my review of this book last week and your description of the Darkling is almost word for word what mine was. So hot! I kept thinking Mal who? He reminded me a lot of Gale.

  2. Whaaat? Pushy had not heard of this? Dude get a computer for your cave-house!!! 😀 I loooved the world building in this too it was so imaginative and super creepy. Alina’s inner 80 year old is fabulous! 😀 I also agree about Darkling he’s such a mysterious badass that you can’t help but get compelled by him! I love these dual reviews!! >.<

  3. LOL, Pushy. I’m actually wondering how on earth you didn’t know about this book coming out. 😛 EVERYONE was talking about its awesomeness. Oh well, I’m going to take your word for the whole living under a rock thing! 😛

    Lovely review, you guys. I love when you do these group reviews. It’s so fun to see the different opinions. 🙂
    Well, it’s difficult not to like the Darkling. That guy was so freaking compelling and it was difficult to resist his evil charms! 😀 I know I would probably swoon if I were Alina. 😉

    I loved the romance too. Like Danny said, it’s complex, but also beautiful! 🙂 And as much as I usually hate love triangles, I’m looking forward to it in the next installment.

    I’m glad that you guys enjoyed the book! 🙂

  4. THE DARKLING!!!!!! I LOVE HIM YOU GUYS! You both are absolutely right – he was complex and fascinating and hot and vulnerable and so many other things and I adored him. I hope he’s a major player in the next book as well! And Leigh’s choice for him on that magazine cover? *drools* SO glad you guys loved this book too!

  5. Oooh I just bought this at Anderson’s the other week (I didn’t have it when I showed up for the Fierce Reads tour) and I want to read this SOON! As soon as I’m done with all of these ARCs I promised to finish as soon as possible……. This will be the next book I read that I own! 😀
    Brittany @ The Book Addict’s Guide recently posted..TGIF – August 17, 2012My Profile

  6. Bahahah… I agree, Pushy definitely needs to get out of the cave more often! Lol what a great review/discussion post guys!!! You had me laughing and spraying coffee everywhere 🙂 That’s not to say that funny is all it is, cause thanks to you guys I also learned a lot about this novel! While I did hear about this book before (-and awesome stuff!) I haven’t got a chance to read it yet. I do love how it sounds tho! Tsar, eastern European setting, myths, history… Dude, where do I sign up??! I definitely need to get a copy of this beauty! Thanks for the awesome review lovelies!!!
    Evie recently posted..Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (Review)My Profile

    • *giggles* Yes sometimes I need to tell Pushy about some AMAZING books I need her to read, because I need to talk to her about these books!

      Happy you enjoyed our post and if we made yo laugh, even better! I also laughed like crazy when I was reading Pushy’s answers!

      Truly Evie, this book is amazing! The world and the characters were amazing and everyone who loves fantasy must read this one!
      Danny recently posted..New Adult – the Gap between Young Adult and Adult…My Profile

  7. An 80 year old man in underwear and socks!? Too funny. Yes, loved this book, the world building. The Darkling. The Fold and Mal and Alina! Such a good read! My only complaint was the cover…it is a bore…why couldn’t she put that hot image of the guy as the Darkling on the cover!?
    Heidi recently posted..Friday Forecast August 19-25My Profile

  8. I LOVE your review!!! Seriously, Shadow and Bone is amazing! I can’t believe it took me so long to read it. Also, that picture of The Darkling… HELLO!! For some reason I never really thought about how I imagined him to look. I just had kind of cloudy images in my mind. But wow, that picture is spot on!!
    Ashley recently posted..Seraphina by Rachel Hartman — Yay or Nay?My Profile

  9. OMG–loved this joint review. You two are hi-larious! GET OFF MY LAWN…totally describes Alina. She really is a crabby old man. Huh. Maybe that’s why I liked her so much. She reminds me…of me! Oh, and The Darkling. What a fantastic character! I mean, really. Freakin’ hot, freakin’ bad-assed. I have a love-hate relationship with him so don’t mess with us, gals. (okay, I’ve babbled enough…)
    Mary @ Book Swarm recently posted..Not just playing games: INSIGNIA by S.J. KincaidMy Profile

    • *giggles* wasn’t Pushy amazing?? I was reading this part twice and I was laughing my ass off! But, yes that was also part of why I liked her! She was not over the top, she was just a nice and normal girl! But. I also loved seeing her grow!

      I know .. The Darkling..*sighs* I so want him to swoon me away in the next book too!
      Danny recently posted..New Adult – the Gap between Young Adult and Adult…My Profile

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