Following on from the triumph that was 19 Thoughts when Reading: Throne of Glass, I’m back with another few thoughts on another fantasy novel. Yay! I like these posts. They’re fun to write.
I won’t lie; Shadow and Bone was slightly more ‘meh’ than I’d expected. I mean, a novel about Russian folklore and witches and pterodactyls (sort of) should be pretty amazing right? I feel like Leigh Bardugo missed a few opportunities though… although I can’t exactly explain what. Anyway, here’s a stream of consciousness that went through my head as I read Shadow and Bone.
1. Aw, ickle orphans having a lovely childhood. Cute prologue.
2. Eurgh. I’m sensing a case of unrequited love that is less unrequited, more miscommunicated.
3. Anyone else imagine the volcra as pterodactyls? It kind of makes them not-really-scary.
4. Tell me, is Kefta a made up word that only exists in Ravka, or is it a real-life Russian word? I’m confused.
5. Oh yes, deliberately antagonising your captors sounds like a perfect idea, Alina. Who should we upset next? The scary bear killer? Or the guy who can cut people in half with just his mind?
6. Wow. The whole plastic-surgeon-grisha bit has me scared. WHY IS IT IMPERATIVE THAT WITCHES LOOK PRETTY? And why is Alina so super-stressed about being a babe? Isn’t it enough that she’s got powers?
7. I feel like I’m supposed to be shocked at the corruption of the Ravkan King… I’m not. I’m just a bit bored.
8. Aw, poor Genya. Poor, misused Genya.
9. So now Alina misses Mal. Why didn’t she miss him before? I’m finding her Mal-love a little confusing, to be honest… when she forgets about him, she releases her power. WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?
10. Basically NOTHING happens in the middle of the book, other than the introduction of a bitchy girl (has nothing to do with the plot so far) and a MASSIVE training montage. I’m pretty sure I’ve read this several times before…
11. Epic light show is epic. And the subsequent secret kisses are kind of hot, I guess.
12. Oh, look! THE LOVE TRIANGLE IS COMPLETE! Hooray.
13. Ooooh, bad guy is bad. There’s a shocker.
14. Tell me, Alina: why is it perfectly acceptable to be attracted to someone who is 120 years old, but not someone who is ANCIENT? That’s a little hypocritical, don’t you think?
15. Note to self: DO NOT TAKE RUNNING AWAY TIPS FROM THIS GIRL. Get in a fight with soldiers who are looking for you and then show off your dazzling mirror skills? Nope. Not a good idea.
16. Hmmm… so now they’re about to die, they can admit that they love each other. Because, you know, in a book about immortal witches, we need more drama.
17. Ooooh, that Darkling is SOOOO mean. Why does he keep kissing her? (Also, Alina’s speech about serving him gladly is basically lifted from Tangled. Anyone else notice that?)
18. BRB, sobbing hysterically.
19. Aaaand now everyone is dead (I can tell you already, they’re not).
So, basically, Shadow and Bone has a whole host of memorable characters; a forgettable love triangle (of course!); and a REALLY whiny narrator. Here’s hoping Siege and Storm has less romance and more witches!
Have you read Shadow and Bone? How did the Russian-ness of the setting work for you? Oh, if you had a grisha power, what would it be? I reckon I’d be a fire-summoner… mostly because setting fire to things sounds fun. (Secret pyromaniac, maybe?)