On commencing this book all fantasy fans will recognise how cliché it is: A semi-medieval magical land, a girl who’s had a tough background discovers she is destined for amazing things and a powerful man, who never has feelings for anyone, falls for her. By this point I was really confused why this book receives so much praise, not to say I wasn’t loving it, I just didn’t think it was living up to the hype, and then BAM!!! And I totally get it! Bardugo may start this book out in a pretty cliché way but that only sets the stage for when she completely deviates from the script! I did not see it coming AT ALL! The proverbial carpet is ripped out and you’re suddenly reading a completely different book!
I went into this book knowing almost nothing about it only that everyone loves it and I’m so glad I did it made everything so exciting and unpredictable.
I love good world building, it’s like the base of any fantasy novel, without a reader being able to understand a world the rest of you book will crumble. This world Bardugo has created just blows me away! I was a tad confused at parts at the beginning of the book with all the different terms for each level of the small science, but once I’d gotten into the book it I got over it straight away.
Alina, Mal and the Darkling are such well written characters, they feel so authentic and real. At the start of the book I had problems with Alina as a character, but her growth throughout this book is a tangible thing. She starts out as a very down on herself, needy girl and she becomes this very sure of herself, confident, strong willed person. Mal, I have to admit, I could never really 100% like, he was written in a way that made him very real, but that reality also included flaws, and the flaws kind of rubbed me the wrong way at moments. The Darkling. Oh My God! I loved him!!!!!!! I can’t decide whether I love to hate him or if I just think his misunderstood but I really, really, really, enjoyed reading any scene he was involved in.
I could never fully connect with any of the romance in Shadow and Bone, I’m not sure if that’s because so much other stuff was happening that maybe the romance wasn’t a central theme. I feel like it was kind the skimmed over majority the book and then Bardugo would throw in a declaration of love, like it was meant to make me swoon. Which I didn’t.
Overall, I loved Shadow and Bone and I will be reading the sequel soon! I hope I can connect to the romance better in the next book and I can’t wait to read more about Alina’s amazing life!