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