- Leonora Seitz
Shadow and Bone series - A review
First of all I LOVE Leigh Bardugo and her writing, if you haven’t read any of her books I would suggest reading this series first before going into her other series called Six of Crows, which is a Duology. It’s set in the same universe so you come across the same spell casters and information as this series. Happy Reading!
*A wash tub of sudsy spoilers coming at ya
Shadow and Bone Series starts out with a girl named Alina, a refugee, and he friend Mal (secret crush), and their regiment’s journey to a place called Shadow Fold in the country of Ravka. The Shadow Fold is a gap in the country which within it hold impenetrable darkness filled with creatures who feast on human flesh- unfortunately, it also is the reason the country of Ravka is split into two, destroying a once-great nation. When crossing the fold Alina’s regiment is attacked, and Mal is critically injured Alina finds within herself a sleeping power that ends up saving his life as well as the rest of the refugees on the ship. When it is discovered she has this unique ability she is ripped from everything she knows to train as a Grisha in the royal court, lead by a man called ’The Darkling’. What darkness of the fold slowly growing and Ravka depending on her newfound power she must make choices that will change the fates of many. When she does she is haunted by it, forced to run away with Mal across the True Sea and keep her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret as they try to build a life together. But the Darkling finds them, emerging from the Shadow fold where she left him like the loving dead, and with a terrible new power that changes everything she thought she knew. Alina finds her way back to her country just escaping the clutches of the Darkling and begins building her power to defeat him. As her powers grow though she falls deeper into the Darklings game of forbidden Magic and ends up distancing herself from Mal. In a single moment, she must choose between her country, her power, and the love she always wanted Or risk losing everything. Eventually, her choice causes the capital to fall and the throne to fall into the hands of the Darkling. Alina is broken, without an amplifier, and must search for one and the outlawed prince before it is too late. She forges new alliances and sets asides old rivalries as she, Mal, and a group of Grisha hunt for an elusive firebird that could save all of Ravka, but will also cost Alina her life.
What I liked;
The story jumps RIGHT into the action and I loved it so much! There was blood and fear and honestly, the creatures in the fold scared the SH*T out of me. At first, I was nervous about it but it ended up picking up so quickly and becoming so fast passed that by the time I actually looked back I was halfway done with the book. There is a lot of fighting and death but I like that sort of stuff. Throughout the whole series, the books move rather fast or at least that’s how it feels because the story is so well written. The story travels a lot and the twists and turns are sharp as to keep you craving more- defiantly keeps you reading.
The Darkling. That’s it. Tall dark hairs mysterious man who is lonely and powerful and knows how to play the stings of a sad heart. He is so dang good at being a villain and trying to look innocent- honestly one of the best villains I’ve read in a long time. He convinced me several times that maybe she should be with him, that he understood Alina better than Mal ever
could and I LIVED for it. Ugh, there was once or twice in her dreams where he was kissing her neck and I died. DIED. Ugh, I wanted them to just have like one night together.
The Russian vibes from the story was great and I really found myself falling into it and even doing research to better understand some of the words used in the book. It was a refreshing setting for me to read about and the overall world-building was phenomenal.
It has been some time Since I have read about spell casters but the works and fundamentals of the Grisha was super cool, and I really liked it.
What I didn’t;
Mal. He didn’t deserve Alina in the slightest. At first, I liked him, and I let his anger issues slide because he was confused and didn’t understand what was happening to the friend and girl he’d known his whole life. But once she started trying to build up her power and was growing into a new person, he acted as if he didn’t want to understand, he only wanted to judge her. It really annoyed me.
The Russian words and names were difficult to follow but I didn’t hate it, wasn’t something I didn’t like, but something that made the story a little difficult to follow at first. Over time the words become familiar and I would recognize them even if I didn’t know how to pronounce them.
Overall Mouthfeel (Brooklynn 99 reference);
I really loved the story and it kept me interested until the very end! I loved the group dynamic Leigh makes when she writes (she does this in Six of Crows as well), the characters were so well rounded and diverse I never feel bored. The land and map created for it are easy to read so I was hardly ever lost. This series made me feel all emotions under the rainbow and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great fantasy series.