Thursday, November 17, 2016

Book Review: "Shadow and Bone" by Leigh Bardugo

Alina has never really been good at anything, except being best friends and secretly in love with fellow orphan Malyen.  Now that they are too old to be in the orphanage, they are stationed with the Second Army - fighting off advances from their enemies.  Their country of Ravka is split in two by the Shadow Fold and the terrifying creatures that live within.  Alina & Mal's troop is attacked as they attempt to cross the Shadow Fold, and Alina's hidden power is unleashed.  Alina is quickly whisked away to the world of the Grisha, the magical elite class led by the dark and mysterious Darkling.  Alina is torn by her love for Mal, left behind at the Fold, and the beautiful new life promised by the Darkling and all the Grisha have to teach her.

I read this so that I could better lead a book discussion at the next teen book club meeting at work.  I know at least a couple of the teens were really excited about this book, and have even gone on in the series already, so I knew I had to really read it.  I don't think I liked it as much as they did.

Don't get me wrong, there are definitely things I liked about it.  I really liked the Russian influence that flowed through the whole book, and the world that was created from it.  I also love when a book like this includes a cool looking map right in the front.  I did think the characters could have been fleshed out a little more.  Sometimes I liked Alina - especially her sass - but other times, I would get frustrated by her pity parties and periods of low self esteem.  The pacing drove me nuts though.  It was all over the place!  There wasn't a slow build to a big conflict.  Instead, there was slow meandering, a total shift in attitude/motivation, then more slowness until a frantic ending.

I don't know if I will continue on in this series, but I'm leaning toward not.  I have been told by three separate people to read Six of Crows which is set in this same world, but is just better.  Oh, and I don't need to have read this series first (which is good for me).

Did you read this?  What did you think?

Shadow and Bone
by Leigh Bardugo
Henry Holt and Company, 2012.
356 pages
Series: The Grisha #1
Source:  Library


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