Shadow And Bone Series Book Review

Hi everyone! Today I’m going to be reviewing the Shadow and Bone trilogy by Leigh Bardugo.

Rating: ✯✯✯✯

The Shadow and Bone trilogy follows the protagonist, Alina, and her journey with coming to terms with her powers. After spending the majority of her life growing up in a small peasant village, some astonishing powers emerge, and the Grisha realise she may be what is needed to cure the darkness hanging over the country… But this may come at a price.

There are honestly so many things I could say about this series that I don’t know where to begin! After seeing so many mixed reviews I went into the trilogy with pretty low expectations but it’s safe to say that I was pleasantly surprised! Bardugo truly crafted a masterpiece and I definitely have high hopes for Six Of Crows now.

I think one of the things which made the Shadow and Bone trilogy so special was definitely the incredible world building. I quite often steer clear of fantasy because of how difficult the balance can be to get the world building right but Bardugo was absolutely spot on. She created such an intricate magic system and I really enjoyed gradually learning more about the Grisha and their history. It was such a detailed and interesting system and definitely one of the best I’ve read yet!

Of course, the characters were also amazing. Each of them were so well developed and thought out and I loved how different they were. What made this even better was how strong their friendships were too despite their differences. Bardugo created a really lovely set of likeable characters which made it impossible to pick out just one favourite… They were all just so great!

Take the Darkling, for example. Although he was the villain of the story, he was such a complex character, and I felt so conflicted over how to feel about him. Parts of him were so human and relatable and finding out more about his history in the final book added yet another dimension to his character! That being said, his actions were also horrific, which definitely made up my mind about him.

Nikolai was another character I found really interesting. Although he was only introduced in the second book, I really loved his character, and I found his bond with Alina really special. His determination to be better than his family was really inspirational, and I also think it’s something really relatable for readers – even if their family’s not royalty!

Of course, I couldn’t write a review on the Shadow and Bone series without mentioning Alina. Her character development throughout the trilogy was absolutely brilliant, and I loved reading her develop into such a powerful character. Her struggles definitely made her easy to relate to.

I also really loved the darker turns the series started to take. There were some incredibly dark moments towards the end of the series, and it was really nice seeing Bardugo explore some different themes. It certainly kept things interesting – although of course it was difficult saying goodbye to some of the characters!

The ending was also great. It was really satisfying seeing everything come full circle, and I loved seeing some of the characters finally get a bit of happiness. The epilogue was also a really nice touch – it was lovely seeing where they wound up!

However, having said that, there were also some things I didn’t like about the overall ending of Ruin and Rising. Although there were lots of things I loved about it, what I didn’t like was Alina’s final choice in terms of her love interest. I just felt it wasn’t the right choice for her, and that they didn’t have any chemistry, although this might just be personal preference!

The pacing was also a little off in places, particularly in Seige and Storm. I felt like it was extremely slow moving for the vast majority of the book, and then the last quarter was as action packed and fast paced as possible to make up for it, which I wasn’t such a fan of. That being said, the pacing was perfect in Shadow and Bone and better in Ruin and Rising, so it all balanced out!

Overall, I would recommend the Shadow and Bone trilogy to any fantasy fan, as this was some of the best I’ve read of the genre in a while. I would also recommend it to anyone looking for a new series they can really get into as, in addition to the trilogy, there’s two duologies set in the same universe too!

Have you read the Shadow And Bone trilogy? What about Six Of Crows? Let me know in the comments!

I hope you enjoyed this review!


63 thoughts on “Shadow And Bone Series Book Review

  1. I haven’t read it yet but now I am interested! I wonder if this would be something my oldest daughter would get in to? I am so happy to have found your site because I LOVE all types of books (which is why I’m at 300 books on my bookshelf now). I look forward to more reviews and I will be heading over to the discussions section now! I am happy to have “met” you !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad to hear that, I really hope she loves it if she ends up reading it! I’m completely the same haha, at this point it’s like my own personal library! I hope you find something you love there. I’m glad to have met you too, thank you so much for reading and commenting!


  2. I sometimes feel like I need to hold my breath when I see someone reviewing Shadow and Bone because The Grishaverse is my favorite book series and I’m always SO nervous that I’ll read a negative review (which like – that’s understandable because everyone has different opinions, but it’s hard not to feel sad when you see someone dislike your fave books) – and I feel like a LOT of people don’t prefer Shadow and Bone in comparison to Six of Crows. I, however, ADORE Shadow and Bone and it makes me smile to see that you enjoyed it as well πŸ™‚ I agree with you about Alina’s love interest pick at the end (I’m hugely against his character in the books but love him in the show haha) and honestly feel as though she should’ve just stayed single because no one was truly right for her. Eeek – I could seriously talk about this series all day because it makes me so happy. If you ever wanna just chat about it, let me know haha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I completely get that, it’s hard not to feel a little down when someone doesn’t share your love for a book! I haven’t actually read Six Of Crows yet, I’m hoping to get to it soon, but I have heard a lot of people say that too! I’m glad you love it too πŸ™‚ Yes omg, I had so many issues with that (completely agree with disliking his character, I haven’t seen the show yet though but I’ll keep you updated!) and I agree she would’ve been better single. Haha I will, feel free to reach out to me to chat too! Thank you so much for reading and leaving such a lovely thoughtful comment.


  3. I read the Shadow and Bone series last year and I enjoyed it so much. I personally did not like mal in the books but more in the Netflix series. The darkling is such an interesting character. I wondered by the author gave him more character development then anyone else. I personally did not like the actor they pick to play the darkling in the Netflix show he tried to make us the audience feel bad for him but in the book I feel like the reader knows straight way that he is not a good guy also the romance between him and Alina felt very forced. I personally like the book series way better then the show hopefully in the next season they fix a lot of the problems that the first season had. When I read the book I felt like I could put it down it was such an interesting story. Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad to hear that you loved the books! I haven’t watched the series yet but I definitely agree with what you said about the books – I really didn’t like Mal. The Darkling was definitely one of my favourite characters due to how complex he was! The romance was definitely very awkward. Thank you so much for reading and leaving such a thought out comment, it’s a pity you enjoyed the show as much but hopefully it does get better!


  4. Thank you for sharing such a thoughtful and detailed review for the Shadow and Bone series! I normally don’t read a ton of fantasy because of the world building, and I’m so happy to hear that it was spot on. I love that the characters are likeable and well developed. You’ve sold me on this book and I definitely want to check it out now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m actually the same haha, I don’t usually read it because of how iffy world building can be but it truly was brilliant in this! I’m so glad to hear that, I really hope you enjoy it. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m so glad to hear that you love the series too, it’s absolutely brilliant. I haven’t watched it yet but I’m dying to, have you? Thank you so much for reading and commenting!


  5. Great review Ceri! I’m not usually one for reading fantasy (although I love watching it), but this definitely sounds like an interesting read. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My sister loves the show to these books and has read the trilogy as well, to her positive review. I loved your more in-depth and intricate thoughts on the story balance and world building as I find your experience to be quite balanced. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I’m so glad to hear she loved the show, I haven’t had the chance to watch it yet! I always try and make sure my reviews are balanced and fair so I’m so glad you enjoyed my review, thank you so much for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I loved reading this review. I am obsessed with the Grishaverse right now! The Shadow and Bone triology was actually my least favourite Grisha series personally though. Have you read the Six of Crows or King of Scars duologies yet?


  8. I have not read the books but I watched the first season on Netflix and I loved it (I know it is not the same and all). I agree that the Darkling is such a complex character, also the actor playing him makes it really hard to hate on him. Like I never suspected he was the bad guy..was so shocked!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Shadow and Bone is part of my watchlist on Netflix. I just didn’t get yet the momentum to sit and watch this because it felt too complex. But your book review made it interesting. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh I still haven’t watched the Netflix show but if it’s anything as good as the books it’ll definitely be worth the watch! I hope you enjoy it if you end up checking it out, thank you so much for reading and commenting.


  10. This definitely sounds like a ‘Ben’ kind of book – he’s very much into the fantasy genre and has even started writing his own novel too. Brilliant review, we’ll be checking this book out πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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