Sunday, January 19, 2014

Shadow and Bone

Summary by Goodreads: The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?


And we're back! It was a busy Christmas season this year and we didn't have time to do much reading. However, we're both excited to be back in business with a new review for a book we just finished reading this weekend. Shadow and Bone.

You know I'm here to talk about the romance. This book has romance. Very little, but it is in there. It's all very "young-adult" with fluttery heartbeats and tingly touches- but there are a few smoochies too! And the smoochies were good! I thought they were appropriately timed and I totally bought into all the kisses. 

But! In order to talk about the romance I need to talk about my favorite thing in books- the boys! First let's talk about the Darkling. I try not to fall for the bad boy but like most girly girls I swoon at the dark and brooding, hawt boys. And though his name is Darkling and I hate that, I do want to lick him. A lot.

I really wanted to believe in his romance with Alina. I tried really hard to root for them.
Then there is Mal. Oh, Mal. That cute, popular boy in high school that every girl crushes on and every guy wants to be friends with. The boy that grew up next door to the non-descript girl that is ignored at school. Yet every day, after school, they hang out on the backyard swingset. You know that story, right? That's Mal and Alina. And I wasn't too impressed with his treatment of her in the first part of the book.

He does redeem himself near the end, though. And he does end up being really sweet and I like him but it took him a heck of a long time to get there. 

And there you have your love triangle. I will admit. I do like a good love triangle. 

This was an OK love triangle, if for no other reason than I love the Darkling. 

I know I am supposed to talk about characters as well...and I already discussed the boys. Our MC, Alina, is annoying through most of the book. I had a hard time liking her. This is mostly due to the writing, however- 1st person POV and her constantly complaining about how she's not special and/or pretty. The author feels the need to repeat this continually and it grated on my nerves. The last third of the book I think I liked her a little more but overall she's probably in my top 10 worst heroines.

Every other character is not worth mentioning. They were pretty one dimensional. What you "saw" was what that person was. No one had any depth or intrigue or layers. 

Boy oh boy do I wish we did half ratings here. This would be a 2 and 1/2- even, middle of the road novel. I have definitely read things with worse romances and some things with better romances. But since I did like the smoochie moments and <3 the Darkling I will give it 3/5.


Starting off the year with a...well not really a bang I guess. I've just finished this book. I started it yesterday and had no problem putting it down to go do something else. That's never a good sign. Then today I was literally bored so I decided to read some more and ended up finishing it so I could get to writing this review. This book is not compelling.

Not to say it's a terrible book. It's not. It's just not an exciting page turner, there isn't much action, and those of you know have come to know me know I like the action. I think the best way to organize my thoughts about this book is to talk about what I liked and didn't in bullet point form.

  • The Russian words. Let me just get that out there first and foremost. Take all the Russian out of the story and it would have been 40% better. Some words I didn't understand and were never explained. Some words were just hard to read because I couldn't even pronounce them in my head. I would get stuck trying to read a word and it would jolt me out of the story. And some of those words were used A LOT. More a detractor than an enhancer. Which is too bad, I think that the Russian stuff was what inspired her to write the story.
  • One dimensional characters. There wasn't anyone in the book that I hated but I wasn't in love with anyone either. They were really one note people. The people you think are bad are bad. The people who are good are good. No one (with the exception of Alina, the MC) grows. No one surprises you. I would have liked a little more character development, something to make me care a little bit more about each person.
  • Predictable plot. I say this a lot, probably because I read a lot, but I was hoping this book would surprise me. I was hoping it wouldn't go the way it looked like it was going to go...but it did. Again, part of the this problem was the one dimensional characters. Nobody did anything interesting, they just did what we expected them to.
  • Pacing. The story drags a bit in the middle. Mmm...a lot in the middle. I know it is in the name of plot build up but still I feel like there were some pages that could have been cut out of the middle of this book.


  • The writing. This is definitely a thing I have seen people split on with this book within reviews. If you take out the Russian the rest of the book is ok. The prose isn't lyrical but it also isn't heavy. She does do a lot of environmental descriptions but I don't think she overdoes it. There are certain people who like that sort of thing. I like a more straightforward approach but I also don't mind skimming over descriptions. If you take out her Russian the writing is fine.
  • The concept. I like that "magic" wasn't really magic. I have played with that idea myself. Manipulation of core particles to create or destroy. I wish it was talked about more- it was really only touched on once or twice. I liked the idea of the three sets of "magic users" and the overall concept of the Darkling. And the Fold was a cool concept as well, though there is not enough description of where it came from- though I feel that may be answered in future books.
Overall I feel that this is an OK book. If you like YA fantasy then this might be worth your time to read. I like that at the end of the book I don't feel like I need to read the next two; it can just end there- I'm not forced to move on with the series to find out what happens. 

I just wish the author had given the story a few more twists and left out at least half the Russian. I would have liked this book a whole lot more. Still, not a bad read for a cold, snowy, winter's weekend.


  1. I hate when words pull me out of a book!
    Great review!

  2. I will give it a once over then since 3/5 seems like I won't hate myself for spending the time on it.