Shadow and Bone Book Review
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Soldier. Summoner. Saint.
Orphaned and expendable, Alina Starkov is a soldier who knows she may not survive her first trek across the Shadow Fold—a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. But when her regiment is attacked, Alina unleashes dormant magic not even she knew she possessed.
Now Alina will enter a lavish world of royalty and intrigue as she trains with the Grisha, her country’s magical military elite—and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes Alina can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war-ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift.
As the threat to the kingdom mounts and Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she loves and the very future of a nation.
Welcome to Ravka . . . a world of science and superstition where nothing is what it seems.
This was a reread, in fact I’m rereading the entire series so expect some more reviews. Back when I first read this I must have loved it. Shadow and Bone had the reverent 5 star rating on Goodreads. I’m sad to say that this has fallen, not dramatically but lets just say it didn’t wow me quite as much as it should have done.
What happens – my version.
- Oh look at me, I’m totally normal and there’s nothing I can do. I’m so weak and puny.
- AHH thrown into a life-threatening situation and BAM I’m extraordinary.
- Living the life of luxury while happily remaining ignorant to the world around me.
- Then the whole thing goes to crap.
My biggest problem with Shadow and Bone? Alina. I despise her. There’s too much emphasis on how weak and puny she is. How she can’t possibly get by being ordinary. I would have loved her to have loved herself purely for being her, not because she finds a dormant power. The story feels rushed and incomplete. I know it’s the first of a trilogy. Questions were raised purely because of the rushed writing.
The romantic elements never had any chemistry and that bothers me, especially when a big part of the story is this back and too type of thing. I thought it would have been better to have a slow burning kind of romance rather than rushing it and having it fall a little flat – which by the way it did.
This book fell all the way down to 3 stars purely based on that. Harsh, maybe but I just wasn’t feeling it. It was hard to read at times and I struggled with the characterisation.
In terms of characters, my favourite in Shadow and Bone would have to be The Darkling. He’s the kinda character that you love to hate. He was also the only one who didn’t really grind on my nerves and put me off. Maybe I’m becoming a character snob. Is that a thing? More importantly is it contagious?
Least favourite character definitely goes to Alina. Whiny, good for nothing sod. I really hate her voice and the way she goes about things. Urrgh, she really winds me up, and she shouldn’t. She’s the protagonist for crying out loud. I should at least like some of the things she does in the story. Shouldn’t I? Tell me if I’m wrong.
What I wanted to happen, was for everything to go slower. To build up slower, to be more of a burner type thing rather than a quick fuse and a huge explosion. There just needed to be a little more than what we got.
I think I would recommend this book to younger audiences. I think I’m a little old to have sympathy with Alina (I think she’s a brat). Someone who wasn’t quite as jaded as me would have a better experience!
Have you read this series? What do you think about buildup and the characters? Let me know in the comments below!