Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1)
by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher - Indigo
Release Date - June 6th 2013
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

Originally published as The Gathering Dark.

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 fulfil 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.
Shadow and Bone, a highly acclaimed fantasy of 2013. Now, I reread it with the lovely ladies Glass and Tanja from Ja Ĩitam, a ti? and I enjoyed it even more. Could that really be possible? As all three books of this series are released we decided to read them all, so right now I'm reading Siege and Storm and I can say that reading them together is so much better rather than waiting a year for it to be released. I can say that I've never been lost in book like, Shadow and Bone.

So as a group read we have structured our review a little differently. So without further ado here is my review:

How did you feel about Mal and Alina's relationship?

(Don't hate me) Alina's and Mal's relationship wasn't perfect. It felt very fragmented. Their progression in their friendship didn't quite connect with me, even when Alina would go back on a memory or write him a letter. What I liked was how they grown up together in Keramzin, that they never left each other's side especially at the Duke's. They were stronger together than they ever realised, and that was only explored towards the end of the novel. One part of the book could have been developed more when three Grisha came into the orphanage to be tested... Not just for their friendship but specifically for Mal's character development. Although that goes without saying that by the end, I was convinced as they were truly amazing together. 

Was the world building well developed?

WOW! For me this was the highlight of the book! The world building sent you to a different place, a different world. It's fantasy after all, so although there were some Russian influence and folklore to it, combined with the magical elements, it created an epic vision of originality. The imagery and colours were what caught my attention, the cover of the book to the colours of the Kefta's they are stunningly beautiful, from a Summoner's Blue to The Darkling's Black, both described with such delicacy that I couldn't help but imagine that I was surrounded by them. What also loved (even though I had to download them) was the map illustration of The Shadow Fold. It wasn't complete without knowing where your escaping to. 

What elements of the novel did you enjoy the most?

The magic! Alina's ability and reputation as the Sun Summoner reminded me of scene in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, when Harry done the Patronas Charm in the forest against the dementors. That burst of light is how I imagine, Alina's light and how she flourished throughout the novel, her control, her power. 

What did you think of The Darkling?

I fell for him. Is that a bad thing, we all asked ourselves. But there was something very attractive in his evilness. The name, Darkling screams a lot of things, don't you think? It also says a lot for his reputation and the stories that he was told of him.  But it is his body language and dialect that really leaves you wanting more. His character development throughout the novel was seamless, controlled and dark. Elements of his character shone through with Alina and their relationship, although twisted to a certain extent was how his character explored his redeeming qualities. 

Describe Shadow and Bone in one word.


Rating - 5!

“The moment our lips met, I knew with pure and piercing certainty that I would have waited for him forever.”


  1. I actually read this book and gave it about 3 stars, I think everyone had raved about it so much it set my expectations up so high. But I think I'll grow to love the series, I need to read Siege and Storm still. I wasn't convinced with the relationships either. The world building was great though and Darkling was intriguing.

    1. I know what you mean, Jeann! I have the exact same fear with most hyped series such as these. But this blew my expectations away! Siege and Storm is brilliant. Go read it! Hehe.

  2. Beautiful review, Emma. You know that I agree with you, especially about Mal and The Darkling. I was intrigued by him and I can't wait to see how will everything end. I have few theories, but we will see.

    1. Thank you Glass! Me too, I hope Ruin and Rising will let everything come together in the end.

  3. Well enchanting is a really great word to explain this one! :) I love it. I totally agree about the relationship between Mal and Alina, but yeah there is more to it. I cannot wait to see how this all ends either. Great review, Emma :)

    1. I thought so too! It just came to me! I hope we see more to it as the series comes together. Thank you, Tanja! :D

  4. I gave this one 4 stars and absolutely loved the world building! I think it's my favourite thing of the series and Leigh Bardugo did a wonderful job creating Ravka!
    Great review, Emma!

    1. Me too! The world building was the highlight of the novel for me. It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Thank you for stopping by, Pili!

  5. I cannot be friends with you. EWW. DARKLING? :P

    I have to admit though, he has a certain lure that makes him appealing.. but I'll never be able to view him in a romantic light. *sigh*

    I am glad you enjoyed this book, Emma!!

    Wonderful review!! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

    1. HAHA! Well you know... he certainly is intriguing to say the least ;) Haha. Well we'll see how it all plans out in the rest of the series. Thank you, Rashika! :D

  6. I'm a huge Mal and Alina fan so I thoroughly enjoyed their relationship progression throughout the trilogy and I hope it grows on you as well, Emma. Fantastic review and I'm thrilled you loved this installment! :)


Hello and thank you for visiting Never Judge a Book by its Cover. I read and appreciate all your comments. I now reply to them so make sure you check back! And I will try and comment on your blogs in return.
My blog is now a award-free zone.I appreciate the thought but I do not have any time to spare for them.