Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

7:05 PM

Pages: 358
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
ISBN13:9780805094596
Genre: High Fantasy YA

Review by Phil

Synopsis (Amazon.com): 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.

My Thoughts:

Lets just start off by saying I was not a huge fan of Shadow and Bone. There, now that we have that established I will tell you why.

The writing for one thing just wasn’t up to par with some of the newer YA releases. I am not saying it was bad, not at all, it just wasn’t as good as it could have been. Shadow and Bone has a really awesome storyline, and to back up a really good storyline the author needs to use writing that's just as awesome. I would say the storyline as a whole is a 5/5, it was a really cool idea, with somewhat interesting characters and good scenery. BUT, I would give the writing a 2/5, compared to other new YA books. The high fantasy world that Bardugo created just seemed very watered down, and I think with a little bit more time spent on writing, she could have made a phenomenal book.

Along with the poor writing, I also don’t like how Bardugo used the world she created. I love everything about the Grisha world and I really loved Alina’s power. BUT, I hated the Russian references, it took me a good 50 pages into the book to realize that this wasn’t a dystopian Russia, but rather a completely different world on its own. Also to give such an amazing storyline such a weak protagonist really annoyed me. Alina was boring, and even though I will probably pick up Siege and Storm (if not just for its cover), I don’t look forward to reading more about her.

This book put me in a reading slump, as well as a fellow reader and friend of mine, Viktoria (vonHejibergen). We had planned to read this book at the same time about a month ago. It took me a week to finish it, and Viktoria still has yet to finish it. We both agree that the story lacked something, and as a whole we just “didn’t care”. Every sentence I read I really just didn’t care about. This book was like sucking on an ice cube, hoping for some type, ANY type, of flavor to touch your tastebuds.

In the end, I was severely unsatisfied with Shadow and Bone, and if not for its twist of an ending, I would have easily given it 2/5 stars. But, Bardugo redeemed herself in the end and made me want to pick up Siege and Storm. I gave Shadow and Bone a low 3/5 stars.

♚♚♚

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