- Author: Leigh Bardugo
- Series: Shadow and Bone #1
- Genre: Fantasy
- No. of pages: 358
- Dates read: 29.03.21 – 03.04.21
- Star Rating: 2 stars
Plot: Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee. Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.
So, I wanted to read this book just to see what it was all about before I started the TV show and to be honest I am praying for the TV show to do a better job. I was not a fan of this book. Oop.
My main criticism of this book mainly comes down to execution. I feel that the idea for the novel was really interesting and I liked some of the major plot points but I felt that the writing itself was lacklustre and I needed more from the writing itself.
To me, the book lacked world-building and and the writing felt a bit surface level, I wanted more depth. I craved more detail about the world, the magic system and I didn’t get much at all. I wanted to know more about how the magic works and how the country functions, I wanted more about the history of the world. I wanted to dive into the lore of this story and I felt dissatisfied with what I read.
I also wasn’t a fan of Alina’s POV at all, I found her to be quite annoying and maybe that hindered my thoughts on the writing. While she did get better in the second part of the novel, I couldn’t connect to her in the first half which meant that I wasn’t as invested in the novel since she is the guide through the story and I didn’t really like her.
I felt the plot itself was really interesting. To me, Bardugo’s plot was fun and exciting, perfect for a TV show. I enjoyed learning about Alina’s powers and trying to figure out the Darkling’s true intentions as everything is confusing and exciting. What we did learn about the magic system, the world and it’s history was super interesting. If I was a bigger fan of the writing I would continue with the series to see how it ends because I really like how it was set-up and how it ended.
My favourite character, by far, was the Darkling. He was the most interesting character in this book, it’s because he has layers and you truly don’t know what he will do next. Apart from the Darkling I felt most of the characters were 2 dimensional, they didn’t have much depth and I didn’t really care what happened to them. I felt that the only character development she prioritised was the Darkling and Alina. Also, I found that with the romance element between the Darkling and Alina had no set up whatsoever. I already knew about the romance due to BookTwitter but in the novel itself I didn’t really feel that the romance was developed enough for it to make sense. I felt a bit more could have gone into to establishing it.
In conclusion, I feel that the book had such a great premise and idea but was just let down by the writing. Hopefully the tv show will be better and I can enjoy the story through that format.
The next book I will be reviewing is The Plague Letters by V.L. Valentine.