Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo | Book Review

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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.

Date Published: June 5, 2012

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Date Read: October 2019

No. of Pages: 358 pages

Genre: Fantasy

Get Your Copy Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

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Verdict: Meh

Shadow and Bone, oh my oh my, where do I even begin? First off, this book is really hard to get into. I keep on spacing out, I keep putting it down. 100 pages down and it hadn’t gripped my attention. I just didn’t have it in me to be excited about it. I just wanted to get it over and done with so I can proceed to other books. You know that feeling when you couldn’t wait to rush home, lock yourself in your room and read the night away? Well, I didn’t feel it towards this book. Unconsciously maybe I have high expectations since I have been hearing a lot of buzz surrounding this series and since the cast for the show has been revealed. A part of me felt like I needed to be in the loop with what’s happening in the bookish world. I am easily swayed alright?

Shadow and Bone was a bit anticlimactic. There are so many missed opportunities to make it more solid and impactful. It really had the potential to be more epic, but the narration and world building just isn’t a cut above the rest. I feel like if you’ve been a heavy fantasy reader you would find this book mediocre, I am not a heavy fantasy reader by a long stretch, so that means a lot. Shadow and Bone might be a good start for readers who are branching out to the fantasy genre.

Let’s talk about the characters. I found Alina’s character to be too weak, indecisive, push-over and what have you. It felt like whatever she did outstanding was just an afterthought. It lacked character development, something I crave for in fantasy books. The Darkling on the other hand, is something I want to read more of. I wanted to know more about his backstory and his real name (if that was somehow mentioned and my mind spaced out, forgive me). You gotta admit there is this enigma surrounding his character. The characters in this book didn’t catch my attention. None of them I have rooted for, or none of them appealed so much to me, which proves to be a problem when one reads a fantasy book, You have to be invested at least in the characters for your to have that driving factor to move forward no matter how plain the plot was. So there’s that.

Plot wise, Shadow and Bone was lacklustre. There was so much potential yet it was not fully explored. It fell short in all sense of the word. Like there could have been so much more, so much more. The author could have played with it, say, made it more complex, or gave it more texture. I don’t really know what’s needed for it to be amazing, all I know is I really wanted more from it. I finished the book feeling unsatisfied. I was told it gets better, but I won’t jump immediately on to the next book. I will take a break delving into Siege and Storm. I need to cleanse my palate first. So sorry but the hype was overrated. I would let my disappointment die down, or who knows I might just go ahead and read Six of Crows instead!

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