Monday, September 30, 2013
"Shadow and Bone" by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
From 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?
Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance."
When I recently found myself on a fantasy kick I KNEW that I had to include this book on my pile of to-be-read books- partly because of the interesting sounding storyline, partly because of the general hype surrounding it (with some of the most critical reviewers I know praising it to the high heavens), and partly because of hearing friend after friend tell me that I would ABSOLUTELY love it. After having finished it, I must admit that I am among the minority, not understanding why so many have flocked to this when, in my opinion, there are so many other books of this nature deserving said praise.
I think that said hype gave me entirely unrealistic expectations of this book- because of the hype, every element of this book was inflated, THE BEST EVER STORYLINE!, THE BEST EVER CHARACTERS!, THE BEST EVER SETTING! and so forth, almost to an unachievable level. In reality, I found the vast majority of characters to be mediocre, no different from any other YA characters that I have read of before (with the exception of Mal that one time, when he was able to pull out the swoon-> I think that fans of Gale and Peeta will love him as he seems to be a combination of their best characteristics), the vast majority of the plot to be predictable (I am admittedly one of the worst foreshadowers when it comes to book plots, however, I was able to foreshadow almost everything in this book, especially that revolving around the Darkling- if I can do this, then you know it's pretty predictable), and the world building to be a bit too "out there", combining an overwhelming number of elements, only a few of which actually fit seamlessly together.
All in all, as much as I had hoped that it would, this book simply did not do it for me. Because of my reaction to this novel, I am seriously debating whether or not to continue on with the series (if I choose not to, something that is almost unheard of for me). That being said, I do think that fans of Sarah J. Maas's "Throne of Glass" series and Andrea Cremer's "Rift" series, will more than enjoy this novel, wanting to start its sequel as soon as they finish this.