Title: Shadow and Bone
Series: Shadow and Bone #1/ Grishaverse #1
Author: Leigh Bardugo
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 39
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.
I really enjoyed this book. I just seemed to fly through the pages, even retreating to re-read sections that I just devoured. However, some of this may be as the pacing is furious. Events pop out of no where with no warning and we jump through months of time in a few sentences. While other points we slow and focus on a single days events even through they seem trivial compared to larger events we fly through. I wanted more from certain parts of the book, to slow down and dig into the events. For example, we follow Alina to her Grisha training yet it is a couple of chapters with a minimal description of what happens. I could have happily read a whole book just about her training with detail about the world and powers of the Grisha, the intricacies of their position at the royal court but we just don’t get that much information.
I have similar feelings bout the world-building and the characters. I really loved the tiny glimpses of the world that we got, but there could have been so much more description. I feel I didn’t get a full feel for the world. There were gorgeous descriptions for example of the Little Palace but just not enough to give a full picture. It was just lacking a little. I adored some of the characters but even the main character Alina didn’t feel fully fleshed out. I have to admit I really enjoyed Genya and I wanted her to shine which she unfortunately just sort of lingered at the fringes. I really enjoyed the snarky tone to the Darkling, but again I wanted more. Instead of ancient evil I just felt he was bored and put upon.
The ending was also a little lack lustre. It just didn’t have enough impact, the conflict was just a little meh and it just seemed to dissolve into an epilogue that preps for the sequel. I really was torn as I so enjoyed the book but it wasn’t as satisfying as I would want. I will be continuing on and hopefully the books just get better and better.
ENDING – 7
STYLE AND PACE OF WRITING – 6
CHARACTERS – 6
ATMOSPHERE AND WORLDBUILDING – 6
PLOT – 7
ENJOYMENT – 7
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