I didn’t think I was a massive fan of fantasy, until I realized that the majority of my favourites were, indeed, fantasy. Which is why I am so glad that I picked up Shadow and Bone (although I may have been persuaded to do so because COVER LOVE.)
You’re chucked head first into the world, which even after finishing the book I’m not sure I completely understand. I guess I will just have to fill in any gaps by just rereading, and rereading, and rereading. But, on the other hand, in a fantasy novel that’s almost exactly what you want. You don’t want fifty pages of explanation, and I think Shadow and Bone almost had the ratio of plotline of to backstory completely perfect.
I really liked the main character, Alina, I thought she was head strong and she dealt with her new surroundings and situation extremely well, even though she’d just been horribly separated from her soul mate – we will talk about the ultimate cuteness of Mal later, don’t you worry. I loved being in the Little Palace, despite the Dark undertones (intentional pun.) Genya was also a wonderful addition, because when you lose one best friend then someone has to be there to fill in the slot.
The Grisha powers, although slightly hard to keep track of, were interesting and unique, and the concept of amplifiers kept the story going. I love it when protagonists are actually willing to learn new things, so Alina ticked that box for me. It was very reminiscent of Poison Study by Maria. V. Snyder, especially with the fight training and the alluring but dangerous love interest. I imagine Alina and Yelena being close friends, the similarities between these girls do not stop at the ‘lee-na’ suffix. I’m interested to see where the King ends up at the end of this series because treasonous talk was everywhere. I love some good forSHADOWing. (That one was unintentional.) I’m looking forward to the sequel immensely, and hope that it isn’t just going to be an ‘on-the-run’ sequel, as that could be mildly disappointing, but if necessary then so be it.
Mal. Where to begin? He was wonderful, and I’m so sad that he only had a cameo role in the first half, but was relieved when he was there full force in the final third. I’m quiet partial to a love triangle that is executed well, and liked this one even more because it wasn’t bittersweet as I do not like the Darkling. Well…maybe a little bit. I’ve prepared myself for the likely probability that Alina ends up with my less preferred candidate, but I still hold out hope for Mal. Maybe if he can’t be will Alina then a lovely secondary character will be introduced to pose as his new love interest. Or he dies. But I’d rather not think about that unfortunate scenario.
With such a raving review it might come as bit of a surprise when I say that my star rating is only 3.5 out of five. This is because there were moments were the plot got a tiny bit dry and I had to encourage myself to continue, this was made up by some plot twists and some plot gems that I was not expecting. Overall, I love the characters and am invested enough in their story to continue. Also, the 3.5 was a tactical decision as I have a feeling that the series is only going to get better so rather than saying the series plateaued at 4 stars I can say it was a beautiful journey of a rising incline in the star spangled rating system.