AUDIO BOOK REVIEW: Shadow & Bone (book #1)by Leigh Bardugo


Publication Date: November 30, 2012
Format: Audio
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Narrators: Lauren Fortgang

Publisher: Audible Studios        
9 hours 21 min
Buy: Kindle | Audio


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.


I have not watched the Netflix series based on this book because I wanted to read or in this case listen to the book first.  I wasn't sure what to expect but found myself riveted to the story line.  Alina is an orphan who is raised with her friend Mal although as they grow Alina has more than just friendly feelings toward him although she tries to hide it.  

Their nation is at war and Mal is a soldier and Alina a map maker.  She agrees to go on a mission beyond the Fold, when their ship is attacked and she sees friends dying and her beloved Mal fall she runs to him and the world goes black.  When she wakes she discovers that she has had a dormant power that could be the key to ending the war.  She is swept away to the lavish world of the Grisha and taken under the wing of the most powerful Grisha of all the Darkling.

Of course nothing is at it seems and as Alina's power grows so and her beloved Mal fails to return her mail, her anxiety and her attraction to the Darkling grows until someone tips her to the plan to take her power and use it as their own. To make her a slave.  Running for her life, she finds Mal again who vows to protect her.  

This is definitely the set up book of the series.  Although there is a lot going on and a lot of action I know there is more to come.  I really enjoyed the characters and the whole world Bardugo created.  The Darkling is mysterious and creepy, Alina is naive, yet strong willed and powerful and I love watching her change and grow.  Mal is loyal and strong and determined to help Alina. This was a great start to a series and I can't wait to see how they adapted this into a show however I am not going to hold my breath because they never seem to get it exactly right.  

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