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Publisher's Summary

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves her life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha… and the secrets of her heart.

©2012 Leigh Bardugo (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Shadow and Bone

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Twilight 2.0

This book had a great premise but my goodness was it poorly executed. The characters were shallow, contradictory and felt very fake. The plot felt thrown together and rushed with misplaced, heavy-handed attempts at foreshadowing. The "special girl" with a love triangle trope has been over done, and this is no exception. Sure the author threw a twist into it but, as I said, poorly executed.

The performance of the narrator was this books saving grace, but even that was marred by odd moments where the voice she was doing would suddenly change mid sentence, as if recorded in a different take weeks apart.

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

Female lead spends an inordinate amount of time wallowing in self-pity and questioning why her super hot boyfriend who every woman flirts with likes her.
That shit is awful.
stop it.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Story!

This book had me at the edge of my seat the whole time. Not a fan of the narrator's voice though.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Impressive World-building

This book threatens to fall victim to YA Fantasy clichés.. the awkward misunderstood/maltreated orphan protagonist with a heart of gold, frustrated hidden attractions, lovelorn jealousies..
Alina, to be sure, is a petulant teen with raging hormones and an inferiority complex - defying authority, resenting the unnaturally beautiful Grisha race, and resisting her destiny to be a powerful being - but she is surprisingly relatable.
Leigh Bardugo spends her time introducing a world every bit as interesting (though less maturely fashioned) as N.K. Jemisin's 'Broken Earth'. The Grisha (a magical class that can manipulate energy & matter) are (usually) identified as children, trained to battle in a number of magical disciplines, and enlisted in an army at war with competing kingdoms and cut off from coastal supply by a monster-populated strip of magical shadowy desert - an 'Unsea'. Bardugo's world includes monster threats (the horrific Volcra), a magically manipulable environment, competing kingdoms at war, and ominous "allies" (the Darkling is a most interesting character). Bardugo builds tension, describes terrifying events realistically, and explores fascinating class distinctions and even racism. The Kingdom of Ravka is a darkly intriguing setting.

The weakest feature in this recording is the narrator. Lauren Fortang is an average reader at best. She reads at a little-too-slow pace (I sped it up to 1.10X on the Audible app to good effect), uses cartoonishly artificial-sounding huskiness for some male characters, and has a slightly arrogant baseline reading tone. Her rwad is strikingly sibilant, too ("s"s actually *squeak* on occasion). Her use of Eastern European accents is appreciated, however, and for the most part sounds accurate. Fortang's performance is interested, but best described as "adequate". A different narrator likely would have improved the recording.

Altogether, this first entry in the Grishaverse sets up a brilliant concept. I look forward to more. This is a solid 4.5-star introductory novel. The YA elements ("young love") and relatively weak narration bring it down to 3.5.

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    4 out of 5 stars

An entertaining YA fantasy

The narrator, Fortgang, is excellent, and Bardugo is a wonderful world builder. Sometimes the dialogue sounds slightly juvenile, and I am a little over the self deprecating female heroine trope, but overall, I enjoyed this story and will be getting the next book in the series.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fun times ahead lol

Its an entertaining read! The villain's presence isn't felt much but still got interesting concept. lol. Story's pretty straightforward and the plotwist is not bad. lol.

Performance is amazing! I could feel the emotion and I could tell the characters apart! Tho maybe a different voice for the Darkling could've been picked? It was a tad bit dry and monotonous.
It was nice overall! lol

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Lockdown days gem.

The audio book is extremely binge able and super easy to go through. strongly recommend for those rereading the series in preparation for the Netflix show.

The narration made it less cringy had I gone in with a physical reread. very helpful with details that I had missed during my first read.
great refresher and it goes by fast.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it.

Excellent narrator and a delightful story that twists and turns and digs in its claws. Definitely continuing.

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Great listen

The narrator was awesome for this book. And the story line I felt was more complex, which I enjoyed. I find a lot of books in this genre end up being simple and not that complicated. But this one was very good! Easy enough listen, but grabs your attention.

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    5 out of 5 stars

omg love it!

this is a fantastic new world, and omg the villain is amazing eventhough he is evil, plot super interesting, characters are also good! , honestly really amazing!

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Joe Chad
  • 2017-09-07

Run of The Mill Debut

Disclaimer: I read the Six of Crows Duology before the Grisha Trilogy. Also, I do not tend to read young adult fantasy very often.

After completing the Six of Crows duology I was very intrigued by both the world and character development that Bardugo showed me in those two novels. I had heard rumors that this duology was better than her Grisha Trilogy and as far as Shadow and Bone is concerned I have to agree.

Lets start off with the good. I enjoyed Bardugo's world building for the most part. She does a good job of creating an interesting landscape and showing us a very convoluted magic system. The word convoluted is important though, because I feel as though the boundaries of the magic system are very loose and many items are not explained in enough detail for my taste. I was often confused as to how powerful the magic that is used actually is, at one point you have a single Grisha (magic user) killing multiple people effortlessly, but then at other times common soldiers are able to overcome a Grisha and simply dodge their magical abilities. Therefore, there is definitely a magic system consistency problem, but this isn't uncommon among high fantasy novels.

The other element that Bardugo succeeds in some degree at is her character development. She really does do a good job at showing real emotions from her characters and making their personalities individualized and believable, although they lack the same flare and interestingness as her Six of Crows characters. However, the main problem with the characters for me was Alina herself, who I generally found a little obnoxious, naive, and very resistant to change. She really did annoy me especially for the first half of the book, although she did improve as the book went on.

The main problem I had with this novel is the plot is a little generic, and really lacks any flare or twist that really jumps out at you. In comparison with her duology the plot seems incredibly simplistic, and the rest of the book suffers for it.

Just a quick note on the narrator, I thought she gave a decent performance, but I did feel she lacked range of voices to some degree, and she worked a little hard on her accents, which came off as a bit ridiculous at times.

In conclusion, I put this novel down to first novel inexperience, and it was just good enough for me to buy Siege and Storm. One final thought: Ms. Bardugo is far better at writing in several points of view as opposed to singular first person.

40 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • sam
  • 2014-04-14

Like Twilight in 18th Century Russia

I like to think of myself as open-minded; even when I do particularly care for a book I give it the benefit of the doubt and reason that it's just my cup of tea. Rarely do I outright hate a book.

With that in mind, I hated, hated, hated, hated, absolutely hated Shadow and Bone! I hated everything about it! And for the life of me I cannot figure why the author is trumpeted as the next big thing, or how this book in innovative by any stretch of the imagination!

Let's start with the characters. First Alana Starkov (technically ought to have been Starkova, but I doubt the author so much as touched a Russian to English dictionary). Good Ford, what a whiny, self-centered little...I probably shouldn't curse. I'm sorry, but she can't think one sentence, on measly little sentence without whining about her imperfections, or gushing about her beloved Mal, or generally not giving a damn about anyone but her own selfish needs. Actually, no, she was perfectly willing to toss away her talents to be with her beloved Mal. Bottom Line: Alana Starkov = Mary Sue

Now, Mal and the Darkling. Mal is completely one demential with not personality beyond being Alana's perfect love interest. The Darkling, on the other hand, is a not to subtle Edward Cullen knockoff; all dark, brooding and boarder line abusive to Alana (and yet she loves him so).

The rest of the characters were waaaaay more interesting than the core three; why the hell wasn't this story about them?! So, as for world building, we have Ravka, a serial numbers filed off version of 18th century Russia; boarder end by totally isn't Scandanavia, and couldn't possibly be China (who eats their wizards and make instruments of their bones). Again, the lack of research is apparent in such instances as a character getting drunk...on children's beer, and the butchering of the Russian language.

The authors has explain all sorts of fascinating world building facts in interviews, yet seems to have forgotten to include them within the context of the novel itself. Bottom Line: World Building = thin as rice paper.

What really irks me isn't the cultural appropriation, the horrible messages and morals, or the cardboard characters. No, what really gets me is that the author seems to posses genuine talent and ability, but squanders it with romantic plot tumors, YA cliches, and pandering to love-sick fourteen year olds; all the the detriment of the novel.

If that were the end of it; I would still dislike, but not hate this novel. What pushes me over is how anyone could call this bold, innovative, well written, or possibly award worthy!

Bottom Line: don't waste your time. If you want so good fantasy in a none standard setting checkout Saladin Ahmed's The Throne of the Crescent Moon, instead. You'll be glad you did.

26 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • HKJ
  • 2016-01-18

😥

I thought that this book would be better. It did have a good ending but her new book, six of crows, was much better. A waste of time and money.

25 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Whovian
  • 2018-08-31

disappointed

I LOVED Six of Crows and it's sequel. both were amazing. This one just pissed me off. Stupid Girl doing everything they tell her not to. I just wanted to slap her.I got bored at the half way point and almost gave up. Not sure if I will listen to the others. Six of Crows was leagues above this.

69 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-07-03

So much potential wasted..

Oh my god I hate the progression in this book. The main character is a girl with the power of light which is unique to only her but she is so painfully stupid she totally ruins this book for me.

She is a train operative but her automatic instinct is to use her power which reveals her identity when she is supposedly trying to keep a low profile.

So many parts of this book are molded to fit the storyline but the writer doesn't seem to have a seamless way to bring it together without making all the characters look naive, ignorant idiots.

I pray the second book is better than this first one because the world building and intrigue that is developed in this world is really interesting

20 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Najima Rainey
  • 2015-06-09

Mediocre

While I liked the world of the story, I think it would have been better told from an omniscient narrator's perspective because the main protagonist isn't particularly like able.

She makes a lot of mistakes but never seems to learn from them. She's suspicious of everyone EXCEPT the bad guys. It's like being inside the head of an acerbic, self obsessed kid, who spends the whole time complaining. An experience not worth repeating for the 2nd or 3rd book.

19 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Scott
  • 2015-01-17

Arrrgh, I can't take any more. Please make it stop

I was duped by all the 4 star reviews. Here is, in my estimation, what someone interested in listing to this story should know.
1. The antagonist/part time love interest (cliché anyone?) of the "heroine" is named The Darkling. Enough said.
2. After 5 hours the author finally gets to the plot twist (a.k.a. the point of the story so far). Seriously I could have listened to the first 30-40 minutes, skipped to the 5 hour mark, and not missed anything of significance!
3. From the publisher's summary: "Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh." Learned about this in the first hour of the story, and it lasted about 10 minutes. This was the best part of the 5 hours I made it through, and was mediocre at best.
4. Also from publisher's summary "Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves her life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling." THIS IS THE NEXT 4.5 HOURS, or roughly 1/2 of the book!!! Her failure at training (which the author does not give any inkling as to why she is failing, she just is) is over an hour long. Later it is revealed that her block was self-imposed. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? Oh, and by the way, her "super power" (spoiler alert) is creating light. Ultimately this was 5 hours of white noise, and is where I cry off. At this rate would take 10-20 books to complete the story. I am done.

12 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Katherine R.
  • 2018-07-19

ugh

I don't think I've ever been so disappointed in a book. I was so excited when I started reading it, and the story just got worst and more predictable. There's a lot of books that I've predicted but the outcome still make it fun, but not like this one. Plain characters and I think the villain was the only one I kind of like, but at some point they were a disaster too. Idk what made me finish this book but it wasn't cause it was good. so disappointed. Dont know if I'll read the rest.

19 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Book Gobbler
  • 2012-12-04

Enjoyable And Oh So Entertaining!

Would you listen to Shadow and Bone again? Why?

I would listen to this book again because it was pure entertainment.

What other book might you compare Shadow and Bone to and why?

I would compare this book to Divergent.

What does Lauren Fortgang bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She has a way of bringing the characters to life with creative and interesting accents that I don't think I wouldn't have come up with in my head.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The whole book came together so well it's difficult to pick out one thing. However, I will say it was pleasing to see the development and maturity of the characters as the book progressed.

Any additional comments?

This is a very good book and I am amazed that a first time writer could deliver this kind of product. I was really captured by the story and can't wait for the next installment. I highly recommend this book.

31 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Barry P. Press
  • 2013-02-21

Enjoyable Fantasy with an Excellent Narrator

I listened to 'Shadow and Bone' during a long drive, and I was happy with my purchase. This fantasy novel was an enjoyable listen, and I will probably also get the sequel. Lauren Fortgang did an excellent job with the narration, and this story has appeal from teenagers to adults. A very likeable protagonist, and pretty good supporting characters... The ending is somewhat of a cliff-hanger, and the plot had me guessing at times.

Although I definitely recommend this book, I felt that it borrowed a lot from an earlier (and superior) novel entitled "Daughter of Smoke and Bone". Still, this is fantasy fun so my critique is fairly minor. Shadow and Bone is well worth a listen - if you enjoy this genre.

34 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • fenner Kathryn
  • 2020-11-21

Superb!

I loved this book and the other two. The story is great, characters are really touching and you get to love them. If you like love stories mix med with drama and magic this book is for you!