Book Review: Shadow and Bone

Shadow and bone

For the people who haven’t read this book…

Our Review (minus any spoilers)

“I would give this book three out of five stars. The plot was original, but I felt some of the characters were shallow and unfeeling.” – Clara

“Four out of Five Stars. Its fantasy world was based on Imperial Russia, a refreshing change from all the stories set in medieval England. I really enjoyed many of the characters.” -Hermione

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Meet Alaina Starkov, a sniveling stick of a girl, lusting after her unrealistically perfect male BFF-who could basically be related to Gale. Or maybe Thor. His name is Mal Oretsev, and naturally he has her in the friend zone. The only thing that these two seem to have in common is that they’re both orphans. Now they’re members of the First Army-Mal’s a tracker, and Alina is a terrible cartographer.

The book opens with a large company of the First Army preparing to cross the Fold, an evil swathe of darkness ripping the country (Ravaka) in two. And naturally, it’s full of flesh eating monsters that tear peoples’ faces off. While attempting to cross the fold, their skiff is attacked by the Volcra and Alina discovers she has the power to light up like the end of Rudolph’s nose.

Enter the magic. Alina is shipped off to join to the Grisha, escapees from camp half blood-er, cough cough the magical elite of Ravaka. Be prepared to listen to a fascinating account of Alina’s life in a vaguely Russian Kingdom as she now learns to master her “sun summoner” powers. Of course, a random creepy but sexy dude steps in to help with the magic lessons, and creates the overused YA love triangle-the tracker or the dark prince? But the Grisha and the Fold hold many secrets, and Alina’s heart may not be up to the burden of discovering them all…So read this book to answer fascinating questions like these: Who exactly is Alina’s Dark Prince? How does one maintain a relationship with a three thousand year-old? And does an old woman wacking you with a stick really help you in the long run?

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SOOOOOO… Read This Book!(otherwise, why would you be reading this review?)

 

NOW, for the people who have devoured (read) this lovely little tale, here’s the in-depth review of the Proud & Prejudiced Book Thieves:

Let’s just start with the relationships. Quite a bit of Alina’s internal conflict concerns the Mal/Darkling dilemma. Both of these male characters were written well, and their relationships with Alina were realistic. The whole idea of choosing between the happy, childhood-friend (Mal) and the dark, luring powerful character (the Darkling) was kind of cliché. Mal becomes the dreamy guy who says stuff like, “I see you now,” and the Darkling can help her with all her new powers/abilities. Sounds sort of like the Phantom of the Opera to us.

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A lot of the plot points were rather trite: ordinary girl discovers magic powers/she’s sent off to train at special school/discovers dark secret at the school/is forced to become a warrior/kisses a few men et cetera. Yet even though some of the plot lacked a little luster, the unique setting of the book and the interesting writing style made up for that.

Some of the characters, namely Alina and Mal, lacked development. Alina got rather irritating sometimes. She was often shallow; and seems to adjust to the luxury of living as Grisha (compared to her former life as an orphan/solider) almost too quickly.

We liked how the word magic wasn’t used to described the Grisha’s powers. Any “magic” was instead called the Small Science, and felt like it could be realistic. Again, the book’s setting was gorgeous! The fantasy world was deeply developed, and very convincing. People always say this about good books-but we felt like we were transported there and didn’t want to leave!

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Graphic Violence Minimal- someone is cut in half, attacks from the Volcra
Sex Alluded to-one character has an off-page relationship, some heavy making out and innuendo references
Homosexuality None ( but occurs in the sequels)
Language Alluded to-cussing in fantasy language
Disturbing Elements Fantasy has a darker feel, some deformed creatures that were once human

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Author: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Fantasy

Page Count (Paperback): 356

Interest Level: YA Fiction

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