Dark (and Light) Powers, Dark (and Light) Choices

Shadow and Bone & Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo


First Look:

So. Pretty.  And there are major clues to plot points hidden in the drawing, but they really only make sense once you’ve read it, so they don’t spoil anything.  Basically, it’s perfect.

Jacket Copy:

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?


This review is for the first two volumes in a planned trilogy.

Worth Reading?


Bardugo writes smoothly, and yet with enough complexity to make these books possible adult crossover hits.  Add that it’s a Russian-inspired high fantasy (as opposed to Western European) with a unique magical hierarchy, and I love basically everything about them.

Notable Things:


A love triangle that’s not totally irritating!  Not much that’s not spoilery to say here, only that I liked it, and it is rare for me to say that.

russian art

The Russia-like setting is refreshing for a high fantasy, and adds surprise and variety to the magic and quests.

white stag

Magical quests after rare animals are a big part of the plot in this series.  I do have questions about what Alina chooses to do in these situations, but I hope that some of the questions will be answered in the third volume?


Basically, I loved them.  I don’t think Alina makes the right choice in every situation, but then you don’t have to agree with a protagonist to enjoy their story (what fun is a protagonist who does everything right?), do you?  For now, I will revel in the unique mythology and worldbuilding, and the deliciously complicated characters and interpersonal relations.  Can’t wait for book three (June 3)!


Borrowed from work, because I am poor and live in a small apartment.  I liked these so much, I’ll probably change my mind and buy them later.


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