Discussion Post | Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (Shadow and Bone #1)

Welcome to Birdie Bookworm’s and Ba_BAMB’s first ever read along, in which we’ll be discussing the first Shadow and Bone book!

This discussion is actually split into two parts, and you are currently on the second half.  To get the full discussion, click over to read part 1 on Angie Elle’s blog first, and remember to beware of spoilers!

But, please come back!  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Shadow and Bone

About the Book: 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 his 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.

Shadow and Bone #1
YA Fantasy
Henry Holt and Company | June 5, 2012
amazon2 bn2

Part 2

The Darkling may have some legitimate feelings for Alina.  Was that only his need to possess her power?

Angie Elle: Yes, I think he is only after personal gain. I think he’s been calculating for so long that he has only one vision. And it’s is conquer, conquer, conquer! Alina is his key for doing that.

Birdie: I think there’s a good chance you’re right, but then there were a few times where he said something that didn’t feel calculating.  It felt honest… but, I could be looking for something that isn’t there.  It’s not something I want, but it might be something I’m worried about so I’m overthinking it.

 What do you think happened to Baghra?

Angie Elle: You know, I am wondering if anything even happened to her, or if she and The Darkling just ‘had words.’

Birdie: It’s hard to think that he would have killed her, but they did mention that she hasn’t been seen since.  So, maybe he’s just holding her somewhere?

Angie Elle: I’m not even convinced he’s doing that. I think he’s probably so confident that he doesn’t think she’s worth corralling.

Birdie: I don’t know if I think her helping Alina would be something that went unpunished.  I just hope we see her again.

Angie Elle: If it was anyone else, I might agree with you. But if he really does have any kind of a soft spot for Alina, I can’t imagine he wouldn’t have one for his mother.

Birdie: That’s fair.  I guess we’ll find out if he’s capable of having soft spots.

 There were hints about Mal’s tracking ability.  Is it possible he also holds some type of magic?

Angie Elle: I think it is definitely possible, and I have my fingers crossed he does hold some sort of magic in that tracking brain of his!

Birdie: I think it would be interesting if he did.  I like the idea of a different type of magic.  It seems more earthy, and with all the different worlds I hope that he finds out he does.

Angie Elle: I do, too!

Genya was one of my favorite characters.  Do you think that her and Alina will be reunited for the good?

Angie Elle: I don’t know, but I hope so. Genya, to me, felt like what Cinna was to Katniss. And like Cinna, I feel like there were times she stole the show.

Birdie: I agree, completely.  She did steal the show.  I also liked the gray shade she brought to the story.  I loved her friendship with Alina, but I like the confliction too.

Mal and Alina remember their past often.  Do you think at some point they will return there?

Angie Elle: I hope so. I love the simplicity of it all. But I also think that Alina’s magic is so specific and powerful, it may not be possible for them. And I hate that thought!

Birdie: I wondered if somehow the people from their past would become allies.  Or at least shelter them somehow.  Or maybe the opposite.  Maybe they’ll think they’ll be allies and they won’t… I’m just speculating.

Angie Elle: Oooh, there’s a thought! Because the duke that took them in was a war hero.

Birdie: And Alina saw him at the Palace… just another thing that stood out to me as a potential development in the next books.

Predictions for the next book? And on a scale of 1 – 10, how excited are you to read it?

Angie Elle: I think that there is obviously going to be more interaction with The Darkling, but other than that, I’m just not sure. I’ll be interested to see how Zoya (was that her name, Wendy?) fits into things. I have a feeling she is going to be superhero-esque by the end of the series. And I am on a high 10 for the next book!

Birdie: Oh, interesting.  You think Zoya will be an ally? I wondered about that dynamic too.  I’m looking forward to continuing to read the sequel.  I’m particularly excited to read more about Mal and Alina, especially now that they’re officially together.

Angie Elle: Well, it could just be that I am watching Big Brother this season, so I am conditioned to ‘expect the unexpected.’ 😉

Birdie: No, that was very insightful.  I was leaning more toward Zoya being bad, and working with the Darkling.  It would be far more interesting if she ended up flipping sides.

Overall Thoughts?

Angie Elle: Shadow and Bone was a wonderful series starter! I didn’t find the world building to be too overwhelming as can sometimes happens, and I am very invested in these characters and what happens to them going forward. The her/anti-hero concept is something I love, so I’m hoping for some drama ahead! And I can’t wait to see what happens when Alina learns to command her power. I think The Darkling may have finally met his match!

Birdie: I didn’t know what to expect, having read Six of Crows first.  I felt sure that this first series would leave me feel deflated a bit, like it wouldn’t compare.  I have to admit that it wasn’t quite as good, but I definitely didn’t feel deflated.  It left me feeling hopeful, and I just know that the next two books are going to be even better.  I can’t wait to read them.  And I can’t wait to read more about Mal!

What are your thoughts on Baghra and Zoya?  Do you have opinions on The Darkling?  Do you ship Mal and Alina as much as we do?

Whether your reading for the first time with us, or you’re a long time fan, we want to hear from you!

Shadow and Bone Read Along 1

About Birdie

Don’t look for her in any bar, club, crazy raging party, or anywhere there may be a large gathering of strangers. She’s more likely to be found tucked into the corner of the couch watching one of her favorite shows, or preferably under a comforter with her current novel.

21 Responses

  1. I’m biased since I’ve already read the whole trilogy but I loved reading about your predictions and thoughts!
    For fear of spoiling anyone, I won’t be participating in the discussion but I’ll definitely stick around to read what everyone else has to say about it 😊
    Great post!


  2. I love reading you guys’ thoughts!! I especially love how you’re eager for more Mal- he’s not spectacularly popular among fans of these books, but I love him. I also like how even though you went in with low expectations it didn’t disappoint. I think it’s easy to say these books aren’t as good as Six of Crows, but they are very different stories and I think this series does linger bit too deep in SoC shadow, because they are great books! I’m super excited to see your thoughts on the next book- I thought the next two had more fun even as the story gets darker.


      1. They are hard to compare! Just the overall tone and vibe of them are so different. And I think they’re great to read after SoC if you’re particularly interested in the Grisha stuff, because they’re the focus of this series. Having read this series first and then went into SoC, I was fascinated by the non-Grisha characters living in a Grisha world because you see less of that, being in Alina’s head all the time in the Grisha series.


  3. Charli

    I have to say, for me, the Darkling’s “feelings” are purely based on his need to have as much power as possible. He can’t take her power as such, but if he can possess her, then he has her power at his disposal. As for Mal… I’m mixed on whether or not I like him. Sometimes I do, sometimes I’d like to reach into the pages and smack him upside his head. LOL


      1. Charli

        Oh don’t get me started on Alina… that girl drives me bananas at times. 😀 Gotta love characters you’d like the smack. LOL


  4. Great discussion! My book group and I just finished this recently. I would like to think that The Darkling might have a hint of desire toward Alina despite his evil side. Mal wasn’t developed enough for me. We read the Six duology first too so this one was not as exciting, but I still enjoyed it.


  5. Zoe

    YES. I completely agree. This was an amazing book, and I can’t wait to see what you think of the rest of the series (in my opinion each book just gets better and better). Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review!


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