Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Page Count: 358
Publication Date: 2012
Category/Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure, Magic, Young Adult, Romance
Good Reads Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.97)
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.0)
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.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that my experience and view of Shadow and Bone is going to be an unpopular opinion…. but….. I found this book to be …. meh.
It just didn’t capture me the way that I had hoped or anticipated it was going to. The characters felt shallow — think Mean Girls and typical boarding school fare. The ugly duckling trope got real old real quick (there was a heavy focus throughout the entire book on everyone’s looks, it was borderline obsessive). The characters seemed to be lacking in any complexity or motivation and sadly, even the lead love interest felt like he had no personality.
I also didn’t really like how it was written in first person.
I did really like Grishaverse and the magic system that Bardugo had built up and I did like that the magic and military were co-existing. I liked the idea of how the two were supposed to be amplifying each other’s strengths in that way.
There was some Russian folklore and influence woven into it which gave it a bit of an exotic backdrop and some hints and little gems of that ‘old wisdom’ from fairytales.
“And there’s nothing wrong with being a lizard either. Unless you were born to be a hawk.”
There were a few twists that I had not seen coming that really piqued my interest and it was a very quick read.
Despite it, I am still moving forward to book 2 “Siege and Storm” and will be watching the netflix series (which I heard was better than the book).
I would have to say in all, this is a good beach read for someone between the ages of 13-18 years old.