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Publisher's 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

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,677
  • 4 Stars
    1,201
  • 3 Stars
    447
  • 2 Stars
    93
  • 1 Stars
    34

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    1,921
  • 4 Stars
    932
  • 3 Stars
    269
  • 2 Stars
    40
  • 1 Stars
    16

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    1,507
  • 4 Stars
    1,107
  • 3 Stars
    424
  • 2 Stars
    100
  • 1 Stars
    44
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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

Enjoyable Fantasy with an Excellent Narrator

I listened to 'Shadow and Bone' during a long drive, and I was happy with my purchase. This fantasy novel was an enjoyable listen, and I will probably also get the sequel. Lauren Fortgang did an excellent job with the narration, and this story has appeal from teenagers to adults. A very likeable protagonist, and pretty good supporting characters... The ending is somewhat of a cliff-hanger, and the plot had me guessing at times.

Although I definitely recommend this book, I felt that it borrowed a lot from an earlier (and superior) novel entitled "Daughter of Smoke and Bone". Still, this is fantasy fun so my critique is fairly minor. Shadow and Bone is well worth a listen - if you enjoy this genre.

31 of 38 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable And Oh So Entertaining!

Would you listen to Shadow and Bone again? Why?

I would listen to this book again because it was pure entertainment.

What other book might you compare Shadow and Bone to and why?

I would compare this book to Divergent.

What does Lauren Fortgang bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She has a way of bringing the characters to life with creative and interesting accents that I don't think I wouldn't have come up with in my head.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The whole book came together so well it's difficult to pick out one thing. However, I will say it was pleasing to see the development and maturity of the characters as the book progressed.

Any additional comments?

This is a very good book and I am amazed that a first time writer could deliver this kind of product. I was really captured by the story and can't wait for the next installment. I highly recommend this book.

29 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Wonderfully Entertaining

I really enjoyed this YA fantasy book. It had a rich story, good narration and characters I absolutely fell in love with. Of course there is a HUGE cliff-hanger (big surprise there) and I'm anxiously awaiting the sequel. At first I found this book a little confusing and I was a bit lost at times. However, by the end it all comes together and you get a good sense of where this is all heading. Don't get me wrong, there are twists and turns and nothing is too predictable. Some things did make my eyes roll. One of the main characters is actually called "The Darkling". All that aside, it's fantasy so pretty much anything goes.
I'm looking forward to "Siege and Storm" book 2 in June 2013.

4.5 stars

28 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not Really What I Was Hoping

In a land called Ravka, two orphans, Mal and Alina, are called to battle in a war; however, they are called in very different ways. Mal becomes a soldier, and Alina becomes a cartographer. Then, Alina discovers that she has powers that are unique in their world--she is a sun summoner. Because of her new powers, she leaves her post to train as a Grisha, which is a type of natural sorceress. In the book, many believe that her power will help to end the war.

I wanted to love this book, but I only barely liked it. First, let me get my biggest complaint out of the way. From the illustration on the book cover to the language used by the characters, there is an obviously heavy Russian influence in the land of Ravka. Unfortunately, that influence was terribly executed. Although the author uses some terms correctly (e.g., samovar), she invents other words or completely misuses them. There was absolutely no other Russian influence in the entire book. There was no reference to Russian culture, no reference to Russian mythology, and no reference to Russian folklore. It could be argued that, because Ravka is not Russia, these missing references should be overlooked. I cannot overlook them. If the author is going to try for a Russian feel, she should have been a bit more focused with her research. One example that made me somewhat crazy was the name of the main character, Alina Starkov. Although I can see the Russian influence in the name, would it have been so terrible to make the name Alina Starkova, which would have sounded far, far more authentic?

By the way, my complaint about the lack of a true Russian influence negatively influenced my opinion of the performance. I liked Lauren Fortgang for the most part; however, she was woefully prepared to read a book that had Russian words in it. Her pronunciation was bad. Fortunately, her accent was not. I liked the pseudo-Russian accent that she used, but she fumbled with the Russian words and the invented-Russian words.

My second complaint is with the love story aspect of the book. Why, oh why, do we need another bizarre, love-triangle story in which the heroine is (for a part of the book) torn between the boy she has loved her whole life and the bad-boy she has just met? I really feel as if this is another story that is capitalizing on the Twilight/Hunger Games trend. Don't get me wrong, I liked all of these books, but enough is enough. I have serious doubts about the future of all women if these characters represent their ideal models of relationships.

OK, now that I provided you with the complaints, I will confess that I liked the story. I didn't love it, but I liked it. If the love story could have been removed (and the pseudo-Russian corrected), it would have been great. The general concept of the Grishas was fascinating. I like the idea that these people are not really sorcerers or sorceresses; instead, they manipulate what already exists in nature. In fact, they don't refer to it is magic, but as the "small science," which seems to be a combination of magic and science. In addition, the world of Ravka is troubled, yet interesting. I would love to know more about the other people of that world.

In the end, I can say that this was an OK book. If you enjoy the love-story aspect of Twilight or the Hunger Games, you will definitely enjoy this book. If you can tolerate a bit more of it, you will enjoy the fantasy. The ending of the book was rather weak; however, I believe that there are more books to come in this series. We will see where things go in the second book!

21 of 27 people found this review helpful

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

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Annette
  • 07-08-13

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…

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rae Seak
  • 07-25-18

Great narrative and voice.

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-21-18

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.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sam Lucas
  • 05-18-18

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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • paula
  • 02-26-17

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*!!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alaina Carroll
  • 01-18-16

Shadow And Bone

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

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • samantha
  • 12-05-15

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

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • A
  • 03-02-16

shadow and bone

awful. I couldn't wait for it to finish, I love reading and listening to books but this one was dreadful, story was bad and the reading was soul destroying I hope I don't go through that again!!!!!!

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • manga_me_over
  • 06-03-17

fantastic fantasy

this is a great way to start a fantasy trilogy. Soo good, I really liked the way the story had good character development, enough to keep you engaged with both the characters and the plot.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anneli
  • 02-18-16

Ready for the next book!

Audio was very weak, constantly had to have it up at high volume. Overall really well written, found myself following every step eagerly. Already have downloaded the next book in the series :)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • xelfi
  • 06-08-18

10 STARS! 5 Doesnt do it justice

I listened to this book for 9 hours Straight and jumped into the next book Straight away. I got pissed that I had to charge my Iphone during this time because it forced me to have a break. I DO NOT NEED A BREAK. I need this. I love that this book is so well written that I felt like I was there, I felt like I was the hero, I felt the pain and the angst and I love it! Please read this book and get on the train!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Alice
  • 06-02-18

Really great series!

I really enjoyed everything about this audiobook and series, the read really well and I couldn't stop myself from listening to it

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ayla
  • 12-27-17

Folklore Magic

Recommend for lovers of Naomi Novik's Uprooted or Bird & the Sword by Amy Harmond

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Natasha
  • 09-27-16

Fun but predictable

It was a fast paced story for the most part. Unfortunately really easynto. Guess where it was going.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful