(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).
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).