The Shadow Land has been receiving praise from several major outlets:
Chelsea Cain of The New York Times says:
Kostova is a clearheaded, elegant writer with a sneaky gift for incorporating the history and culture of a place into the nooks and crannies of a book that never feels bossy or expository.
In NPR's review, Bethanne Patrick says:
In the second part of the novel, several chapters go back to Stoyan Lazarov and his enigmatic sister-in-law Irina Georgieva's life during World War II, and in these, Kostova captures not just the rhythms of Bulgaria's everyday past, but its proud and uneven political history, too. Not only do these scenes provide that grounding I mentioned earlier — they allow Kostova to show us her deep love for her adopted homeland. Her wonder at its survival and abiding mysteries is summed up in what Bobby says to Alexandra, about midway through their odyssey: "My country has come a long way in a short time, in spite of everything. I think we have something special to give the world — culture, and lessons from history. And beauty. It would be tragic for us to go backward. We have already suffered too much."
The New Yorker mentions The Shadow Land in "Briefly Noted":
The novel is both a coming-of-age story and a thriller.
The Ann Arbor Observer praises the novel by saying:
Kostova has created a rich group of characters and paints the landscape and cityscapes of Bulgaria vividly, but allows them to retain their mystery and their sense of otherness for the young American. We take that sense of mystery back to our own realities, wonderfully dazed by the experience of the book.