Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo {The Shadow and Bone Trilogy; 1}

Book Blurb:

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 his 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.

I read this book for my own pleasure and was not required to write a review.

Rayleigh’s Review:

“You and I are going to change the world.” -Shadow and Bone

If I had to be brutally honest, I’ve owned this book for probably 3 years and never touched it. The storyline intrigued me, and of course I’ve seen my fellow bookstagramers and book bloggers rant about this and other books by Leigh Bardugo, but like many of the unfortunate books on my TBR list, it took something extra special to get me to actually pick it up. What could be so special for it to jump, like, 500 places to the very top of the list? Well, that man’s name is Ben Barnes and when he announced on his Instagram that he’d been acting in the new Netflix adaption of this book, I dusted off my copy and started it almost the same day!

And then I finished it…

In 5 hours…

Goodness what a story! I haven’t binged a book that fast and hard in a very long time. The storytelling is so rich that it was just too hard to put down. The chapters aren’t long–so they’re perfectly binge-able–and something significant happens in every one–so you’re never bored! The characters are so incredibly good–Alina, Mal, Genya, the Darkling, all of them!– and I have to admit that I’ve never been so close to falling for a villain in my LIFE! I mean, I’ve fallen for pirates before, but they were like, the good pirates you know? I was dangerously close to the dark side in Shadow and Bone, that’s all I’m gonna say. And this Netflix show is really going to test me because I’m 90% sure I know who Ben Barnes is playing *cue cold sweats*.

As far as content goes, with Shadow and Bone being a very popular YA Fantasy, I was fully anticipating more of those *ahem* bonus content scenes, if you know what I mean, but I was impressed by how clean it is (as compared to others I’ve read). The language is extremely mild. There were only one or two major curse words that I counted out of the whole book and everything else was slang. Sexual content was present, though infrequently; the most notable is a detailed make-out scene that gets interrupted just before anything else happens, but there are some noticeable *ahem* features that are mentioned before they are interrupted. The rest of the sexual content are scattered kisses that don’t get very detailed and a few crude comments from characters. If you’re concerned with the graphic and gore content, it is present and fairly heavily at that. Lots of flying monsters that eat people, magic that can cut people in half, and of course war and fight scenes. But, overall, these were very scattered and brief so my opinion of the overall novel is a good one because aside from the one make-out scene, I was pretty much just involved in the story without unwanted content, so I was impressed.

Overall, book 2 in this trilogy made itself into my Christmas shopping (for myself *wink*) this week and I’m extremely ready for the Netflix series coming in April 2021. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to Fantasy fans! Also, please enjoy this teaser trailer.

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