Shadow and Bone is a typical trope filled fantasy novel but a great book for those wanting to get into the genre. The plot was a bit simple, slower-paced, and somewhat predictable with lackluster world-building. I also didn’t enjoy the flat, one-dimensional characters. Hopefully things improve in the next book.
Okay, so this is your typical fantasy novel in which a young nobody girl ends up developing one of the most powerful abilities in the world and is the one to save them from the darkness of the Unsea. There isn’t anything too original about it.
The story is fairly slow paced until the last one hundred pages or so in which we see a lot more action. I enjoyed the slower pace as we get to learn about the characters (though not much to learn) and discover Alina’s powers with her, as well as the society in which she now lives.
It was a bit predictable, which I didn’t like but I did have to keep second guessing myself about the Darkling. I had an idea of his intentions but wasn’t sure until later.
“The problem with wanting,” he whispered, his mouth trailing along my jaw until it hovered over my lips, “is that it makes us weak.”
Oh, and don’t even get me started on the whole insta-love thing. Alina fell for the Darkling way to quickly. I was so annoyed. She wasn’t even over Mal either.
This is definitely a short, easy read, and not too complex. I believe this to be a great introductory novel into the world of fantasy if you are looking for that type of book. Avid readers of fantasy may want to skip this one.
The world in which this story takes place I found to be rather interesting. It appears to be set in a fantasy representation of Russia called Ravka. The Unsea is a huge part of the story and seems awfully terrifying but we are only introduced to one type of creature that lives within it. We find out what they are eventually, which is just horrible!
The Grisha were interesting and I loved learning about their different abilities and the ranking system.
I wish we would have traveled around to see more of this world. There are two other kingdoms mentioned in the book but we don’t get to see either one and how they are similar or different to Ravka. We also don’t see much of how people live in Ravka because all the book focuses on is the army or the Grisha.
“They are orphans again, with no true home but each other and whatever life they can make together on the other side of the sea.”
I thought the world-building was decent but lacking in depth/history.
Main characters were kind of bland, to be honest. Too stereotypical and boring. There was nothing that really allowed me to connect with or care about them. Alina is a girl who doesn’t think she is beautiful but turns out to be, she doesn’t think she is good for anything but turns out to have one of the most powerful abilities in the world, and she loves her best friend. I really want something more from her. She has no personality. Her best friend, Mal is a tracker and isn’t in the book too much. What we do see of him I like okay, but like I said I just don’t care about him or Alina enough. I need more depth.
The only interesting character was the Darkling because he was so mysterious at first. I would really enjoy knowing more about him in the following books.
I actually didn’t have a problem with the writing. Everything flowed well and was concise. It didn’t bother me that it was in first-person. It’s nothing extraordinary though. I had a hard time finding any memorable quotes.
The illustration on the cover is awesome. I love it. However, there is no indication that this book is part of a series, it doesn’t have a book number, and there is a blurb on the front.