Reading Shadow and Bone so you don’t have to

Hello book lovers! If you lurk on the book side of social media then you probably know by now that Leigh Bardugo’s book series Shadow and Bone has been turned into a Netflix series and we can expect the show to premiere in April. I am a big Six of Crows fans so when I heard this news I knew I needed to read Shadow and Bone too!

If you’re curious about this series and want to know what it’s all about before the show premieres, well I got you covered…

*This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of my links and complete a purchase through bookshop I earn a commission.

This week’s blog post is a bit different than my usual post because it’s in video form! Yes I’ve finally made the jump to YouTube!

In my video I spoil and give my thoughts on the first novel of Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone series. If you would like to watch me spoil the first novel go ahead and watch my video. But if you want to read a spoiler free version and still get a general idea of the first novel keep reading.


Alina Strakov is just an orphan. She has no special powers or good looks- that is until her team attempts to cross the fold. Alina miraculously saves her fellow soldiers by conjuring light and fighting off the flesh-eating shadow monster, known as Volcra. As a result, she catches the eye of the Darkling, the most powerful Grisha who ever lived. The Darkling takes Alina under his care and escorts her to his home at the little palace. Now Alina must maneuver her way through the court while learning to summon her newfound skill, and tamp down her feelings for the Darkling. Although, the Darkling isn’t all that charming as he appears.


I was rooting for them. The Darkling’s power compliments Alina’s so well! Why must this man insist on being an ass?! I have conflicted feelings for this man, mostly rooted in my need to see him redeem himself! I love power couples with complementary powers, and I just had a small taste of it. But the Darkling sucks!

Where do I even start with the Darkling? I loved the way he’s written as a misunderstood dark prince that everyone feared. I thought that was an interesting take, and it made me forget that he was the villain in the story! When that moment came, I was shocked, not gonna lie. He fooled me. 

“I’ve been waiting for you a long time, Alina” He said. “You and I are going to change the world.”

Leigh Bardugo Shadow and Bone

Spoilers ahead:

But that scene when he completes his plan, it was a big yikes. I like the villains and love interest, but a villain enslaving the love interest and gaining the ability to control her was a big no for me. I understand he is super evil, but I prefer my villains as simps for the love interest.

End of spoilers:

However, with the twist at the end of this novel, I’m curious to see how the Darkling and Alina’s relationship will change. I really like how their relationship changed so quickly in this novel and I can’t wait to read more.

Now onto Alina. Alina hesitates too much for my liking, and she puts herself down a lot. I know it’s part of her journey, but it’s still hard and, at times, boring to read.

Alina can do better, but I’ll admit I’m not a big fan of her other love interest. Sigh. If only the villain was less evil, then my enemies to lovers and Villian + hero heart would soar. However, if you love the best friend to lovers trope and mixed in with a strange love triangle with the villain, this book series may be for you.

“They are orphans again, with no true home but each other and whatever life they can make together on the other side of the sea.”

Leigh Bardugo Shadow and Bone

The last thing I want to note with this review is that Leigh Bardugo’s writing is different it’s more novice and unpolished. It’s probably because this was one of her first novels but I really noticed it after having read the Six of Crows and Ninth House. Don’t judge Bardugo’s writing from this novel though I feel as though she really found her voice afterwards.

CW: minor character deaths and implied rape

If you want to purchase Shadow and Bone , check it out on my bookshop! Every purchase on bookshop supports authors and independent bookstores. If you would like to check out more of my favorite novels, you can find them all on bookshop.

until next time I’ll be living in libros,


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More Shadow and Bone Reviews

8 thoughts on “Reading Shadow and Bone so you don’t have to

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  1. I read the original series after Six of Crows and I definitely think it isn’t as good. The duology is just so tight with such a good cast and a stellar plot and the original trilogy feels…overdone. It’s a chosen one story. I didn’t hate it but I wasn’t in love.


  2. So cool to get to see your YouTube review along with your blog review! I read Shadow and Bones a while back and, yeah, Alina and Mal are a bit…underwhelming as a couple. And I like the friends to lovers thing, so I don’t think that was the issue.

    I did find a cool prequel about the Darkling’s childhood called The Demon in the Woods. It doesn’t excuse his attempts to enslave Alina, but it does provide some context for the person he became.


    1. Omg there’s a prequel?! Okay the lack of back story for the Darkling was a big issue for me. I recently finished the last book and I was bit frustrated that we never saw the Darkling’s backstory. I’ll keep that prequel in mind if I decide to make a post video lol. Right now, I’m a little disappointed with the series and need to reading something else xD

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha, I know what you mean about needing a break! I finished the Shadow and Bone series just kind of…because, but I liked King of Scars much better. Especially after your comment that Bardugo’s writing felt novice in that first series, I’m thinking I should check out more of her recent work, like Six of Crows. I’ve heard so many good things about that!

        Also, just fyi, I read that prequel through my local library’s Overdrive subscription, so I think it’s only available as an ebook.


      2. Yes! Six of Crows is really good! I also loved Ninth House but it’s a hit or miss for some people lol. Yay I’m excited to start King of Scars!!

        Thanks for letting me know! I’m gonna track it down through my own library system.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hahaha this is wonderful! I think that it’s really interesting to read this series after having read Leigh’s other books. It’s a totally different perspective vs someone like me who read her books in order. But I do love your thoughts, they remind me of my first time reading them hehehe

    Liked by 1 person

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