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Shadow and Bone

Narrated by: Lauren Fortgang
Series: Grisha, Book 1
Length: 9 hrs and 21 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (324 ratings)

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Summary

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 her 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.

©2012 Leigh Bardugo (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What members say

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Interesting YA Fantasy Debut

I picked up this book for its fantasy elements – Shadow and Bone introduces us to a divided country called Ravka, besieged by the myth and magic. Leigh Bardugo’s vision for Ravka felt wonderfully cohesive – with Russian sounding place names and slang, and good explanations were offered for the Shadow Fold and other anomalies.

Alina’s ‘narration’ was full of personality and wit, and terms like “miserable oaf” leap off the page. I liked Alina although at times she lacked confidence. Mal’s character was initially presented as a womaniser and it wasn’t until the last third of the novel that I started to warm up to him.

The storyline throws you a few curveballs, which was a great surprise. These stopped the story from coming across as too sedate (despite it’s slow, plodding pace) and leant depth to the novel. I enjoyed the hints of romance and the scattering of action sequences, but it was the lack of certainty which really kept me on my toes.

I am interested to see where the sequel will take us. My ‘stab-in-the-dark’ prediction: Siege and Storm will somehow feature the King’s second son who was off training in the army during the events of Shadow and Bone…

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

great start to the series

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this via Netgalley but I actually read (listened) to this on audible. I sign up to a lot of blog tours and I end up pausing some books half way through so I can meet blog tour deadlines (totally going to be more organised next year) but I have found I can listen to books while I do other things like getting ready for work, driving, washing up etc so I actually listened to this one instead of reading the netgalley copy.

I was actually going to listen to Six of Crows as it had a full cast but I found out that the two series were related and this book was chronologically first. A lot of people said it was fine to listen to Six of Crows first but I'm a bit of stickler for that sort of thing so I went for this book (and the rest of the trilogy first) I am actually glad I did it that way round because there's a lot of world building that is in Shadow and Bone which I think you are expected to know when you read Six of Crows.

I found Alina a realistic character for one in such a made-up world. She is your average girl. There's nothing special about her. She is in love with her best friend who doesn't realise it and carries out her day to day chores and roles. I know a lot of people don't like Alina but I found her character intriguing because she was such an average girl before she discovers that she's actually grisha.

Once Alina's true identity is discovered she meets The Darkling. Essentially the leader of the grisha. I had a love-hate relationship with The Darkling. There is something so appealing about him that you want to like him but you just know you shouldn't. He's also a great character to quote.

Leigh did an amazing job with the world building in this book. I believe it is inspired by Russian history. I am not big on history but Leigh did such a good job of pulling me into the world that it really didn't matter. Everything you need to know Leigh will tell you. Piece by piece.

This was a great start to the series that will have you gasping in shock, sitting on the edge of your seat in suspense and screaming in anger. As soon as I finished this one I had to start Siege and Storm because I knew I had to be back with these characters again.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Not bad

A good beginning and a promising setting, but the characters are a bit feeble and something was lacking.
I thought this book might be a complete disaster on the first half but I still managed to come through to the end and my impression has improved a bit. If you're looking for some light romance, then this might be to your taste.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good story but performance was missing something.

I enjoyed the story...I think. I felt that the reading was lacking. I think a story that has such action needed a more dramatic reading.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great narrative and voice.

Really enjoy the story. Was hoping that each character to portray in a suitable voice or sound.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Interesting tale

The story and characters we're interesting even though I wasn't that much immersed in it that much. Dunno maybe it needed more action😅

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    4 out of 5 stars

Pretty good but narration was weird

Very interesting world and captivating plot but at times was predictable. The Narration was weird sometimes couldn't tell when the protagonist was speaking or thinking as the narrator used the same voice. Sometimes had strange moments where they sounded like a different recording partway through narration like it's been edited. Also found it strange that a lot of the characters from the same country spoke with American accents (often the main characters) but some of the people then spoke with Eastern European accents and a lot of the words sounded Eastern European. The narrator should have gone all the way with the accents or not at all.

Don't get me wrong I would read this again but I wouldn't listen to it again. I would still recommend it.

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    5 out of 5 stars

5 stars, so many twists,did not see coming!!

MUST READ. Took me a while to get into it and get used to the language etc as many of the words sound Russian etc but after maybe 3/4 chapters I was throughly caught in the story hook line and sinker. one of the BEST YA books I've come across in a while I bet this little universe will become a favourite 5*!!

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Shadow And Bone

I absolutely loved this story. Narrator was fantastic. Can't wait to listen to book 2

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  • samantha
  • Rotherham, United Kingdom
  • 05-12-15

Easy going.

So I did finish this book but I wasn't overly impressed. It's seem to have the potential to be an epic story but didn't follow-through. It didn't go into enough detail about the back story of the characters and I didn't feel like I cared about them either. There are other books in the series but after finishing the first one I don't think I'll be downloading them. If you want to easy-going book to listen to them it's perfect but other than that I wouldn't recommend it.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Whovian
  • 31-08-18

disappointed

I LOVED Six of Crows and it's sequel. both were amazing. This one just pissed me off. Stupid Girl doing everything they tell her not to. I just wanted to slap her.I got bored at the half way point and almost gave up. Not sure if I will listen to the others. Six of Crows was leagues above this.

35 of 39 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-07-18

So much potential wasted..

Oh my god I hate the progression in this book. The main character is a girl with the power of light which is unique to only her but she is so painfully stupid she totally ruins this book for me.

She is a train operative but her automatic instinct is to use her power which reveals her identity when she is supposedly trying to keep a low profile.

So many parts of this book are molded to fit the storyline but the writer doesn't seem to have a seamless way to bring it together without making all the characters look naive, ignorant idiots.

I pray the second book is better than this first one because the world building and intrigue that is developed in this world is really interesting

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • HKJ
  • 18-01-16

😥

I thought that this book would be better. It did have a good ending but her new book, six of crows, was much better. A waste of time and money.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Najima Rainey
  • 09-06-15

Mediocre

While I liked the world of the story, I think it would have been better told from an omniscient narrator's perspective because the main protagonist isn't particularly like able.

She makes a lot of mistakes but never seems to learn from them. She's suspicious of everyone EXCEPT the bad guys. It's like being inside the head of an acerbic, self obsessed kid, who spends the whole time complaining. An experience not worth repeating for the 2nd or 3rd book.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Brian
  • 29-05-18

Started off really good.

Started off great. Kind of a different story.
Lost me at the end. Things happened that didn't make sense. Was kind of frustrating because the build up was pretty good.
Then end seemed rushed and not a lot of thought put into it. Kind of how all the new star wars movies are.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Ichiji
  • 28-06-16

Good performance, trite story

I lost interest in the story about halfway through, but the book is decently written and the performance was enough to keep me going until the end. The story was predictable. The characters are not believable. Finally, if you don't go in for romance novels, the villain character soon becomes tiresome. He is yet another 50SOG forbidding but compelling type with penetrating slate gray eyes – and therefore completely uninteresting.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Katherine R.
  • 19-07-18

ugh

I don't think I've ever been so disappointed in a book. I was so excited when I started reading it, and the story just got worst and more predictable. There's a lot of books that I've predicted but the outcome still make it fun, but not like this one. Plain characters and I think the villain was the only one I kind of like, but at some point they were a disaster too. Idk what made me finish this book but it wasn't cause it was good. so disappointed. Dont know if I'll read the rest.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-09-18

Just ok

The narrator was good it was just the voice she chose for the Darkling was off-putting otherwise it was very well done.

The story was good, it just could’ve been better. I enjoyed it but I did get bored in the middle.

I will still continue the series but I will read the physical books instead.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Joe Chad
  • 07-09-17

Run of The Mill Debut

Disclaimer: I read the Six of Crows Duology before the Grisha Trilogy. Also, I do not tend to read young adult fantasy very often.

After completing the Six of Crows duology I was very intrigued by both the world and character development that Bardugo showed me in those two novels. I had heard rumors that this duology was better than her Grisha Trilogy and as far as Shadow and Bone is concerned I have to agree.

Lets start off with the good. I enjoyed Bardugo's world building for the most part. She does a good job of creating an interesting landscape and showing us a very convoluted magic system. The word convoluted is important though, because I feel as though the boundaries of the magic system are very loose and many items are not explained in enough detail for my taste. I was often confused as to how powerful the magic that is used actually is, at one point you have a single Grisha (magic user) killing multiple people effortlessly, but then at other times common soldiers are able to overcome a Grisha and simply dodge their magical abilities. Therefore, there is definitely a magic system consistency problem, but this isn't uncommon among high fantasy novels.

The other element that Bardugo succeeds in some degree at is her character development. She really does do a good job at showing real emotions from her characters and making their personalities individualized and believable, although they lack the same flare and interestingness as her Six of Crows characters. However, the main problem with the characters for me was Alina herself, who I generally found a little obnoxious, naive, and very resistant to change. She really did annoy me especially for the first half of the book, although she did improve as the book went on.

The main problem I had with this novel is the plot is a little generic, and really lacks any flare or twist that really jumps out at you. In comparison with her duology the plot seems incredibly simplistic, and the rest of the book suffers for it.

Just a quick note on the narrator, I thought she gave a decent performance, but I did feel she lacked range of voices to some degree, and she worked a little hard on her accents, which came off as a bit ridiculous at times.

In conclusion, I put this novel down to first novel inexperience, and it was just good enough for me to buy Siege and Storm. One final thought: Ms. Bardugo is far better at writing in several points of view as opposed to singular first person.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Deborah Andersen
  • 07-05-18

Fell flat...

Just wanted more from the story, world, characters, everything, it just could have been MORE

6 of 7 people found this review helpful