Book Review Shadow and Bone a Book by Leigh Bardugo

Book Review: The shadow and Bone a Novel by Leigh Bardugo

Harry Potter isn’t the only world of magic available for us to explore. The literary world of magic and fantasy consists of many characters and storylines, each of which comes with its own enchanted aura. “The Shadow and Bone” written by Leigh Bardugo, is one such novel which was written keeping in mind the new and more modern audience of fantasy fiction. 

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“Shadow and Bone” is the first book in a trilogy which was written by the Israeli-American author Leigh Bardugo and was published in 2012. Leigh Bardugo’s jump into the literary world made her one of the most well-known young adult authors. 

She has created the “Grishaverse” novel world for her readers, where readers get to see multiple books, set in the “Grisha-centric” universe. “Grisha” refers to the human beings who practice the Small Science, which is the art of manipulating matter. The readers witness the Grishaverse in every novel by Leigh Bardugo. 

The other two books following “Shadow and Bones” in the trilogy are – “Siege and Storm” and “Ruin and Rising” Shadow and Bones are narrated by Alina Starkov, who is a teenage orphan. 

She grows up in the Russian-inspired land, known as the Kingdom of Ravka. Alina discovers unexpectedly that she possesses remarkable abilities that might be the key to freeing her planet fro m a sinister force known as “The Fold” which is the home to terrifying monsters known as Volcra. 

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Alina was never good at anything she did before, but when her dominant powers were revealed, she saved her friends’ life. She soon realises that she can use her power to free her war-ravaged country. She is sent away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha. 

“Shadow and Bone”, the first book in a young adult fantasy series, is a coming-of-age story. From a mediocre Cartographer, Alina develops into a woman who is the only hope of the entire nation. She stands as a wall against “The Fold” which has forever dominated over her birthplace “Ravka”. 

This book has gracefully targeted the young teenage audience, where the author has highlighted topics of love, maturing and the politics of friendship and power. Alina is shown to have feelings for her friend – Mal and is also attracted towards her new teacher – The Darkling. 

She goes through a process of emotional upheaval, where she has everything she could ever wish for, but power play and politics, constantly make her struggle. 

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If you are a Bibliophile, then you would be disappointed to hear that many Netflix users claim that the cinematic representation of the book is better. We wouldn’t want you to start the debate yet, as we recommend that new readers of this trilogy scan the book first before you think of watching the show. 

The reason why Netflix has been successful in its endeavour is that the show isn’t just retelling the story but is developing it, but many find the show to be unsuccessful because it has made many changes to the original characters. There is nothing better than having the original fact check, which is always available in a book. 

Although the book is aimed at young readers, it does have very subtle instances of romance and mild language, but nothing too harsh which might seem to distract a younger audience. The narrative does not contain instances of sexual content. The book, however, does have gory scenes of deaths and violent portrayals of wounds, which makes this book suitable for readers who are 16 and above. 

Some readers who might be new to the world of fantasy, they might find this book a bit difficult to understand. There is a Russian overtone attached to the Kingdom of Ravka, generally to people’s names and objects. It doesn’t necessarily overpower the narrative but a few beginners may require some context before they start reading this novel.

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The key is to remember that fantasy authors never use a phrase or a word to make the narrative seem forced, instead they envision a world which is the complete opposite of reality, thus creating newer words and ideas. “Shadow and Bones” provides a balance between – Alina’s first-person point of view in the story and also a curiosity of looking forward to the sequel of the book. The book isn’t all about teenage angst and friendships, instead, it is a magical story of power dynamics in a political world. 

Focusing on Literature and Lifestyle of the Urban Youth of the Country, LitGleam is a monthly magazine, an intrinsic part of BlueRose Publishers.

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