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 her 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.
©2012 Leigh Bardugo (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
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.
Writer, actor, improviser, and family man working as a content writer/editor in a SaaS Marketing Department.
Had me for awhile and lost me at the end. I can't stay emotionally connected to characters who make choices that go against the intelligence the author has already set up for them just to serve a clever ending.
Author was amazing. Quick moving storyline. This is my first book from this author hardback or via audible. I will be looking for more from Leigh Bardigo as well as more narrated by Lauren Fortgang. Kept me well entertained, and I was sad when it ended. Author did a good job describing the world the characters lived in without getting boring. Story was between juvenile and an adult read.
The starts was great. Then, for a good portion of the middle of this book I was like, ho-hum another typical YA book with a love triangle, pettiness, and eye-roll inducing inner dialogues. But then the final chapters the characters really come alive and becoming quite haunting. Had to buy the whole series before I even finished this one.
Its sequel series Six of Crows is better, but this was still a good performance, an interesting storyline, and helpful history that gives background for Six of Crows.
I am listening to this series for the second time and this is the first book of the series. The "language" of the book envelops you, and sends you on journey to a place similar to a fictional Czech Republic or Prague. It is a tad confusing in the beginning, but my biggest suggestion is to stick with it. I promise you will not be disappointed! It is a story of triumph over evil with magical twists and turns. There is love, magic, underdogs, and whimsy. It is very similar to Avatar: The last air bender, but on a more mature level. Definitely recommend this series for teens and up.
I absolutely loved this book. It made me furious at some points but it was also able to surprise me. This book really welcomes you and shows you this whole new world. I would definitely recommend this book to teens and adults.
Loved this one! The world building is so rich in detail, the characters are meticulously fleshed out and the pacing is just what I hope for.
The narrator is excellent. I enjoyed this even more than the first time I read it!
Report Inappropriate Content