Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo...


Review time...

(A Brief) Synopsis:
Alina Starkov is unremarkable. She always has been- or, that's what she thinks. A young cartographer, she is going out on the Shadow Fold, a treacherous place where darkness and monsters are rampant, a crossing people don't always survive and the Grisha, the people with the most power in her world, haven't found a way of quelling. And she nearly doesn't. But Alina, as you may expect, has a power, a power stronger than even most of the Grisha.



What I thought:
I'm actually pretty impressed with how soon I read Shadow and Bone after I got a copy of it, what with it being neither a review copy nor a library book, but a personal read (and they, unfortunately, always do get the worst of it). Really, I'd estimate it only took me 4 months. And I've had owned books on my tbr for as long (and probably longer than) 3.5 years before I've got to them. Perchance I am getting better at this?
(And we'll ignore the fact I've wanted to read this for years longer, yes?)

Shadow and Bone was a perfect read for when I read it (book slumps, you know), but it was certainly not a perfect read in other means. It was wonderfully captivating, gorgeously written and crafted, a novel that had so much work put into its every aspect that the world building, magic system and plot couldn't help but shine (a particular character *ahem* Darkling *ahem,* too), but other aspects frustrated me, mostly after the halfway point where a big plot twist occurred that changed up many elements I had most enjoyed.
I had issue with Alina, the protagonist, from the early days, and mega annoyance with her childhood friend and second romantic lead, Mal, an incredibly frustrating guy who seemed (and acted) like a surefire possessive type who was also pretty horrible to Alina, both with and without intent. My difficulties with her were more in regards to her personality, which felt like a weak, pliable one, and she took a long time to start growing beyond that and stop thinking of herself as weak and helpless.

The aforementioned plot twist was the other area I had a difficult time with, since I just didn't like the direction it took the story, ALTHOUGH it was surprising and well done. Yet devastating to my hopes and sense of enjoyment.

There is still a lot to keep me keen on this series, those points aside ('specially since I own the second book, which is always a good way to give books a further chance with me, even if the first in a series didn't win me over entirely) and I've heard that it's quite good in the areas I wish it to be. If that also means more of this incredible, intricately worked magic system (and the Darklinggggg), then I'm already there (literally, actually, since I'm currently reading the sequel as I get this ready to post).

Rating: Hmm...
Potentially I'd have enjoyed it more had I not had years of... hype before me, but I definitely don't regret reading this, and I anticipate much from book 2 (I'm unsure whether I'm getting that, though).

14 comments:

  1. I'm pretty surprised you just started this series. It had its moments of good and bad for me. Have fun with this series!

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    1. So am I! I was really into the excitement for it when it first came out, and yet... I never got around to getting a copy until last year, so that's how it came to me only just reading it! I'd be interested to read your reviews, Joy! Did you write any?

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  2. I know what you mean, my personal books often get the worst of it. I own Shadow and Bone and still haven't read it and I bought it a year or more ago. The magic system and world building sounds well crafted and it sounds like a well written book.
    It does sound like it takes some time to like Alina. And the second love interest doesn't sounds too likeable. You do make me curious about that plot twist, it sounds like it shakes things up well, but it's a shame when things go in a direction you didn't hope for. Great review!

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    1. And there are so many great personal reads I really want to get to, and seeing them just sitting on my shelf can be disheartening. I'm doing a pretty good job at getting through them, though, these days, which is a nice change! I tend to focus on them in my holiday times and get through a bunch.
      I actually didn't ever really come to love Alina, and reading the second book didn't help that at all- nor my feelings on the second love interest, who never stopped frustrating me. Oh well. I guess it just wasn't for me! If you do get to it, Lola, I hope your experience is better than mine was. xx

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  3. Ah yes, that twist... I remember being very pleasantly surprised by it, but I know a lot of other folk weren't big fans. Well, even though this one was a bit of a let down for you I hope you complete the series anyways and enjoy it. Have you met Stormhound in the sequel yet??

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    1. Oh, I'm glad! I appreciated it for what it did for the story, but it did rather take it in a direction I wasn't a fan of and I never really did get the enjoyment back. I completed Siege and Storm (Sturmhond was a sweetie, but I didn't like him as much later on, after the changes) but decided not to go all the way and read Ruin and Rising, since book two just did not work for me at all. xx

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  4. I still haven't read this book, but I plan to, AND I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT FROM IT, BUT that doesn't matter, I'm still giving it a shaky-try. People keep stalking me to read this series, and honestly, yours has been the first review I've read about the series, and it's not what I expected, but it's good to know that there probably won't be a pleasant plot twist.

    ANYWAY, GREAT REVIEW AND IT'S GREAT TO SEE FROM YOU AGAIN, I'VE MISSED READING YOU! ♥

    ~L. @ Reading Against Time

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    1. *laughs* I hope I've completely thrown your preconceived notions about it out of the room, Lili, and you have a completely unexpected experience with this series. Hopefully a good one, also. It's got a lot going for it, but the characters really hinged it for me and I couldn't like them most of the time, and it just made it too difficult for me. Let me know how you go!

      Thank you! That's so sweet! xx

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  5. I always feel accomplished when I can cross a personal read off my TBR. (Mine was Clariel, which had an asexual character, so will discuss at book club =). I'm glad that you found a book which helped with the slump. I definitely have read that I enjoy but have mixed feelings of.

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    1. Yes! Same here, Glaiza! It's such an achievement. I've been getting through heaps of reads from my goodreads tbr and that's awesome, too, but when I can take them from my tbr shelf and put them on my regular shelf, it's fantastic. And so nice to gradually be adding new spines to the mix. I look forward to talking about that in bookclub! *claps*
      xx

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  6. I simply adore this series!! I just love it. I'm glad to see you liked it too. I look forward to see what you think of the rest of the series.

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    1. You did? That's great! It didn't go so well for me, unfortunately, and I've decided to finish at book 2, but it happens. *shrugs* I'm happy it was so wonderful for you! xx

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  7. There's not much to say because we've chatted about this, but I am still glad you liked it :D I was lucky enough to read it JUST before I started blogging, and I hadn't ever heard of it, so it was brand new to me. I'm sure the hype would have gotten to me had I read it whilst blogging - as hype is wont to do.

    I know how you feel about Siege and Storm *chortles* But do you still love this one anyway? It's weird, because this is seriously one of my favourite books ever, and yet the series as a whole is not one of my favourites ever. *shrug*

    THE DARKLING, THO. I should just show you the bits in Ruin & Rising where he's vulnerable. They're nice.

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    1. Chatted in depth. *nods* But still, thank you for leaving a comment! *squees* Ooh, that'd have been perfect, and I imagine- if I'd read it just as I started blogging- I'd have had a better experience. Although I'm sure I'd still have loathed Mal.
      I don't know that I quite got to "love" stage with this one, but I still appreciate it- especially for the Darkling and the first half.

      HE IS EPIC AND FANTASTIC. You should. You can totally do that. *nods* *continues nodding*

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