I'm a corporate training consultant and adjunct professor who loves to read! I'm always looking for the next big thing.
In a land called Ravka, two orphans, Mal and Alina, are called to battle in a war; however, they are called in very different ways. Mal becomes a soldier, and Alina becomes a cartographer. Then, Alina discovers that she has powers that are unique in their world--she is a sun summoner. Because of her new powers, she leaves her post to train as a Grisha, which is a type of natural sorceress. In the book, many believe that her power will help to end the war.
I wanted to love this book, but I only barely liked it. First, let me get my biggest complaint out of the way. From the illustration on the book cover to the language used by the characters, there is an obviously heavy Russian influence in the land of Ravka. Unfortunately, that influence was terribly executed. Although the author uses some terms correctly (e.g., samovar), she invents other words or completely misuses them. There was absolutely no other Russian influence in the entire book. There was no reference to Russian culture, no reference to Russian mythology, and no reference to Russian folklore. It could be argued that, because Ravka is not Russia, these missing references should be overlooked. I cannot overlook them. If the author is going to try for a Russian feel, she should have been a bit more focused with her research. One example that made me somewhat crazy was the name of the main character, Alina Starkov. Although I can see the Russian influence in the name, would it have been so terrible to make the name Alina Starkova, which would have sounded far, far more authentic?
By the way, my complaint about the lack of a true Russian influence negatively influenced my opinion of the performance. I liked Lauren Fortgang for the most part; however, she was woefully prepared to read a book that had Russian words in it. Her pronunciation was bad. Fortunately, her accent was not. I liked the pseudo-Russian accent that she used, but she fumbled with the Russian words and the invented-Russian words.
My second complaint is with the love story aspect of the book. Why, oh why, do we need another bizarre, love-triangle story in which the heroine is (for a part of the book) torn between the boy she has loved her whole life and the bad-boy she has just met? I really feel as if this is another story that is capitalizing on the Twilight/Hunger Games trend. Don't get me wrong, I liked all of these books, but enough is enough. I have serious doubts about the future of all women if these characters represent their ideal models of relationships.
OK, now that I provided you with the complaints, I will confess that I liked the story. I didn't love it, but I liked it. If the love story could have been removed (and the pseudo-Russian corrected), it would have been great. The general concept of the Grishas was fascinating. I like the idea that these people are not really sorcerers or sorceresses; instead, they manipulate what already exists in nature. In fact, they don't refer to it is magic, but as the "small science," which seems to be a combination of magic and science. In addition, the world of Ravka is troubled, yet interesting. I would love to know more about the other people of that world.
In the end, I can say that this was an OK book. If you enjoy the love-story aspect of Twilight or the Hunger Games, you will definitely enjoy this book. If you can tolerate a bit more of it, you will enjoy the fantasy. The ending of the book was rather weak; however, I believe that there are more books to come in this series. We will see where things go in the second book!
Shadow and Bone is one of the best Fantasy books I’ve read in a really long time! The dark, twisted, magical world that Leigh Bardugo created sucked me in from the very beginning, and I couldn’t get enough! At Leigh Bardugo’s signing, she spoke about the cover of Shadow and Bone…about how much she loves it and about how there are elements in the cover that are really significant to the story. I’ll have to admit that I was impatiently waiting for the moment that I would understand what these element meant while I was listening (yeah I read it by Audible) to Shadow and Bone, and now I’m super excited that I’m in the know! I’m pretty sure I squealed the moment I figured it out. Isn’t that just silly? I think I probably appreciated it even more because I already knew there was something significant about the cover before I even read the book.
The fantasy world that Leigh created is truly unique. It’s been a while since I’ve read a high fantasy book, and I forgot how much I truly enjoy them. And Leigh made it especially enjoyable because every moment while reading I had no idea what to expect, and that is what made reading Shadow and Bone so fun.
As for the characters, Alina was the perfect female protagonist. I loved watching her grow and I understood and respected her actions throughout the story. As for the dudes, I was a fan of The Darkling throughout most of the story, but I’m now actually a huge fan of Mal!
Overall, the story was amazing, the world was awesome, and the characters were very well developed…AND I’m now dying to get my hands on Siege and Storm.
it sounds like cheesy fan-fic with phoney russian words and names thrown in every once in a while. add romance from a girl's perspective and no thanks.
good voice. excellent enunciation.
anger at wasting money.
don't buy it unless you're a teenager that likes really bad fantasy.
I really enjoyed this book. I'm actually listening to it a second time. The reader does a wonderful job with the voices and accents. Leigh Bardugo is amazing. I cant wait for the next in the series. I love the Darkling. He is the ultimate bad boy. It makes for an interesting love triangle. All the characters are interesting. I love the description of the lavish parties at the castle. It was a book I thought about after finishing it which is always a good sign.
I like to think of myself as open-minded; even when I do particularly care for a book I give it the benefit of the doubt and reason that it's just my cup of tea. Rarely do I outright hate a book.
With that in mind, I hated, hated, hated, hated, absolutely hated Shadow and Bone! I hated everything about it! And for the life of me I cannot figure why the author is trumpeted as the next big thing, or how this book in innovative by any stretch of the imagination!
Let's start with the characters. First Alana Starkov (technically ought to have been Starkova, but I doubt the author so much as touched a Russian to English dictionary). Good Ford, what a whiny, self-centered little...I probably shouldn't curse. I'm sorry, but she can't think one sentence, on measly little sentence without whining about her imperfections, or gushing about her beloved Mal, or generally not giving a damn about anyone but her own selfish needs. Actually, no, she was perfectly willing to toss away her talents to be with her beloved Mal. Bottom Line: Alana Starkov = Mary Sue
Now, Mal and the Darkling. Mal is completely one demential with not personality beyond being Alana's perfect love interest. The Darkling, on the other hand, is a not to subtle Edward Cullen knockoff; all dark, brooding and boarder line abusive to Alana (and yet she loves him so).
The rest of the characters were waaaaay more interesting than the core three; why the hell wasn't this story about them?! So, as for world building, we have Ravka, a serial numbers filed off version of 18th century Russia; boarder end by totally isn't Scandanavia, and couldn't possibly be China (who eats their wizards and make instruments of their bones). Again, the lack of research is apparent in such instances as a character getting drunk...on children's beer, and the butchering of the Russian language.
The authors has explain all sorts of fascinating world building facts in interviews, yet seems to have forgotten to include them within the context of the novel itself. Bottom Line: World Building = thin as rice paper.
What really irks me isn't the cultural appropriation, the horrible messages and morals, or the cardboard characters. No, what really gets me is that the author seems to posses genuine talent and ability, but squanders it with romantic plot tumors, YA cliches, and pandering to love-sick fourteen year olds; all the the detriment of the novel.
If that were the end of it; I would still dislike, but not hate this novel. What pushes me over is how anyone could call this bold, innovative, well written, or possibly award worthy!
Bottom Line: don't waste your time. If you want so good fantasy in a none standard setting checkout Saladin Ahmed's The Throne of the Crescent Moon, instead. You'll be glad you did.
Shadow and Bone is an inventive fantasy closely bound with Russian mythology. The story follows orphans Alina and Mal. They've stuck together through thick and thin but a battle with dark forces will reveal Alina's long kept secret - she has a magical ability that will make her both valued and hunted by those who want to control it.
My family listened to this during a long road trip - and all of us were entranced - from my 10 year old on to the adults. The book is not action packed yet it isn't slow either. It languidly builds tension as Alina is thrown into unfamiliar situations and she is forced to navigate through political and social pitfalls.
I appreciated that we didn't get 'fight the demon of the week'. There was a good mix of mythology, world building, and characterization to create a really unique voice and setting. It was easy to follow yet complex enough to hold our interest. The focus was on Alina developing her talent rather than Alina using her talent to fight the dark forces.
The narration was fantastic. I enjoyed the book up until the end. I thought it was a bit anti-climactic and didn't entice me to read the next one.
She played the main character very well. It was a very enthusiastic performance and I felt like she WAS the main character.
Always loved reading, now I love audio books because I can listen to my favorite books on the go!
Yes and I have. I read the book first then I listened to another book the narrator read and loved it and wanted to see what else she narrated. I found this book and had to get it.
She is a good narrator.
I have already recommended this audiobook to friends. It is well read, and the reader made it a pleasure to listen to.
I found the story unique with some interesting twists. The only thing I dislike is waiting for the sequel. I want more now!
Disabled Alaskan reader of mostly mysteries historical. Also vampires, werewolves, things that go bump in the night! Some scifi and fantasy!
Very different story, very original, . Alina is a misfit basically, unwanted, parentless, though not mistreated, not loved, when the Grisha come to the home to test her, all she knows is that it would mean being away from Mal, all they've ever had is each other, Later she is trained to make maps and Mal is a tracker and although they don't see each other every day, at least every few days. Then one day 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.
Alina is to find out though that the wonderful world of the Grisha is not what it seems and that all that glitters isn't gold.
My only complaint was that it seemed like the ending was abrupt. I know it's a trilogy but the ending could have been smoother. Anyway looking forward to the second book.