The SHADOW AND BONE Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

The Shadow and Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo - A Review on My Little Hawk

Visiting Grishaverse was long overdue for me. These books are everywhere. Everyone’s been talking about them. There’s a Netflix show, too. I am so late, and I can’t believe I almost missed out on this world.

Entering the Grishaverse

I probably took the most confusing way to read the Grishaverse. I started with the first season on Netflix. Then I read the Six of Crows duology, then the Shadow and Bone trilogy. After that, I watched the second season. I’m yet to read the King of Scars duology (which I can’t wait to read because – Nikolai, obviously).

The World of Shadow & Bone

The trilogy’s set in the kingdom of Ravka, separated by the Fold – a dark place filled with volcra. The Fold, with its monsters, was created by the Black Heretic, a powerful Grisha who tapped into the forbidden. Centuries later, Ravka is at war, surrounded by Fjerda in the north and Shu Han in the south.

Grisha can manipulate the elements. They are a part of the Second Army and belong to specific orders depending on their power. Their leader and the most powerful Grisha is the Darkling, the Black Heretic’s descendant and the summoner of the shadow.

Alina is an orphan who grew up in Keramzin together with her best friend, Mal. She was a mapmaker before her life changed. Entering the Fold and facing the danger wakes a power hidden in her. Suddenly, she and the rest of the world realize she is the Sun Summoner. She is Ravka’s hope to tear down the Fold and reunite the kingdom.

“I’ve spent my life searching for a way to make things right. You’re the first glimmer of hope I’ve had in a long time.”

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

She becomes a soldier, entering the world of royalty and opening the doors to the magic she knew nothing about.


The first book in the S&B trilogy was a bit ruined for me after watching the Netflix show. It wasn’t clever to watch it first. (I liked the story, but I missed the Crows.) Also, this is part of the story where I first met some characters and tried to figure out the story and world-building. What I loved throughout the trilogy was the distinct voice each character had. That made their confrontations, friendships, or motivation very believable. I loved the subtle foreshadowing, the connections, and Alina claiming her powers were always my favorite part.

“It surrounded me, blazing with heat, more powerful and more pure than ever before because it was all mine.”

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I don’t know if this is controversial, but I did not like nor sympathize with the Darkling for one bit. In the first book, I did not care for him. His arc needed time to unfurl. At first, his character wasn’t convincing. His words, behavior, and actions felt superficial. As the story developed and certain things came to light, everything started making more sense. But, again, I did not care for him. Bardugo does a great job creating layered characters that we can love and disapprove of, the morally gray ones that tip more to one or the other side, but she didn’t win me over with this one.

Mal was another character I barely tolerated in the first book. Alina had some feelings for him. But even at the end of the first book, maybe even the second one, all I kept thinking about was how there’s no real reason to push that love storyline. It felt forced, and I viewed them as siblings more than a couple. They seemed to go back to the same thing all the time – them growing up together. They had Keramzin, and there was nothing else tying them.

I guess, with these two relationships, it took time for them to grow into something with a purpose.

The world-building was phenomenal, and I knew I would love the series. I just had to endure the first book to get to the goods. Shadow and Bone wasn’t bad at all, but it got better moving forward.


So many men had tried to make her a queen. Now she understood that she was meant for something more.

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

I can’t talk much about the other two books in the Shadow and Bone trilogy without potentially spoiling some parts of the first book. But I can say there were some new characters to love, for example, the brilliant, witty, clever, kind, and mysterious Nikolai. I love that character with all my heart. He was written to perfection!

Weakness is a guise. Wear it when they need to know you’re human, but never when you feel it.

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

This book gave me more in terms of the storyline, characters and their relationships, and writing. We were on more stable ground in the Shadow and Bone world. Already settled on the basics, all important pieces together, the story was safe to be expanded.

I can’t forget Tolya and Tamar. I loved their dynamic, determination, faith, and how protective they both were. They had the same goals and beliefs, but their personalities were unique. I’m also always a sucker for any sibling’s relationship, so…

Genya, Zoya, David, the Apparat, Sergei, Nadia, Baghra, all these characters already introduced, are now shown in a new light. They offer more, their motives are changed, and their story more complex.

The story was attractive, fast-paced, and very dynamic. It offered many surprises and twists, always keeping me on the edge of my seat.

Of all the beautiful scenes I could talk about, my favorite one was at the end of the book. The moments of Alina claiming her power grow to be more impressive with each new challenge. I liked how it transformed her, how she slowly grew into her power. Not just summoning light but also being a leader, taking the initiative instead of being someone’s pawn. That’s where we’re left at the end of the second book.


We had edges so jagged we cut each other sometimes, […]

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

The third book in the Shadow and Bone trilogy ruined me. Bardugo played with the characters I loved the most, after already traumatizing me in the second book.

This is Alina’s story, but Nikolai was winning my heart. I can’t help it. But there was still plenty of space in my heart for our main girl. She matured throughout the trilogy and made sacrifices and tough choices. The end of this story was truly the most fitting. It made perfect sense, and it was the most deserving. I loved it!

Shadow and Bone on Netflix

I loved the first season. I think everybody did. But, OMG, I was so annoyed 95% of the time in the second season. Everything I loved about the story, the slow building up to an event, a reveal, or a relationship, was ruined by Netflix’s need to speed everything up and cancel immediately. I don’t know if I would’ve hated it as much if I hadn’t read the books, but it was so rushed and diluted.

Genya and David broke me. Tolya and Tamar were so cute in that one scene and amazing in their fighting and being badass. I loved seeing my Crows. Other than that, they combined the plot of four books and tried to stuff as much in. The cast did an excellent job, the writers merged the story the best they could, and the costumes were gorgeous, but Netflix – I just want to talk.

Also, this was probably the most satisfying moment in the whole show:

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