Number of pages: 416
Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1
Rating (out of five stars): 4
I’ve been avoiding this book like the plague since I found out about it. This was well after it came out of course because I was 13 then, and not actively searching out YA books. The amount of bad reviews right on the first page of Goodreads turned me away from it (and Six of Crows). Turns out I liked it. Maybe it was the beyond low expectations I went into it with, but Shadow and Bone was an enjoyable read. As a sort of random aside, unless there is some in-depth explanation of the magic system in books 2 and 3, reading this has solidified that you do not need to read this to read Six of Crows.
Is Shadow and Bone perfect? Absolutely not. There was some stuff in here that are very outdated YA things. There’s some girl hate stuff, a super tropey love triangle, a plain girl who couldn’t possibly be the special heroine, and a brief twilight-style romance. I think an important thing to remember is that this is a debut that was published in 2012. It’s going to read like an older YA book. Don’t expect Six of Crows level of quality from her debut, because you’re not going to get it.
Speaking of the brief twilight-style romance, I hate the Darkling and Alina together. Thinking about it makes my skin crawl. The romance between them was creepy enough from the start when he told her he was over 100, but then more is revealed. He also tortures her, threatens her, and blatantly ignores even the most insignificant of her wishes. For years I have seen people ship them together, and just…no.
I mentioned in my Six of Crows review that Six of Crows has a kind of silent addictive nature to it where you just can’t stop thinking about it, and you can definitely see the start of that with the writing in Shadow and Bone. You can tell the writing isn’t quite at that level yet, but there is a little bit of that addictive nature there.
I really liked Alina and Genya’s friendship, at least until I didn’t like Genya of course. Unless I completely missed something (please do let me know if I did), their friendship seemed healthy enough, which is always nice to see.
There isn’t a ton of world-building in Shadow and Bone. It didn’t really matter to me because I read Six of Crows first and already had to figure out the magic system for myself, but if you’re starting with this one it may be frustrating. There may not be any info-dumps, but that’s because there is hardly any information provided.
This is mildly spoilery, but won’t make sense if you haven’t read the book. The deer scene was super upsetting to me. I can’t really say more than that, but I just want to cry about this scene with someone. To clarify, I am upset about the deer itself, not what it meant for Alina.
Overall, Shadow and Bone surprised me with how much I enjoyed it, but still wasn’t perfect. It has therefore earned 4 out of 5 stars.