Well, I made a deal with my sister, one that involved trading books and fandoms and other things. (I do this sort of thing a lot.) This time, I would read Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo, and she would read Revelation Space, by Alastair Reynolds. Guess what? Leigh Bardugo is a woman. I honestly did not expect that.
“Good God, you’re a woman.”
– Tony Stark (Iron Man)
Alina is a small and young orphan, (Gasp! So original!) who is taken into the army with her best friend Mal. After crossing the Fold (the completely unrealistic sea of complete darkness that captains just know where to sail on.) and just calling the deadly and man eating pterodactyl/bat/humans to their exact position with fire (and then being surprised when they’re attacked by said monsters), Alina is recognized as a Sun Summoner, one who can bring light and stop the Fold (also known as the Unsea, which the book did not clarify at all).
Swept up in a world that she could have never dreamed of, physically and verbally abused by supposedly mature teachers all around her (including Botkin, who sounds way too much like a Bokoblin from The Legend of Zelda), and also caught up in a completely unnecessary and underdeveloped love triangle that kind of sucked, Alina is tasked to save the kingdom by doing the exact same thing that she did in the beginning of the book, with everyone expecting a different result.
Full of one plot twist that you’ll never, ever, ever see coming in a million years, and with just around 7 to 10 pages of fighting and action in the whole 356 page book to keep you on the edge of you seat, follow Alina, the most indecisive character I’ve ever met, (But hey, kids! She’s still sooooooo relateable!) on her own journey of completely ignorant and vain discovery, where she totally does not discover herself, nor anyone else trying to catch her during her flight.
To be honest, I probably am going to read the sequel, Siege and Storm. I’ve been promised more action, more actually intriguing characters, (and I don’t mean Alina) and just overall “beterness”. Of course, I’ve also been threatened with the addition of a love quadrangle, but I can (maybe) live through that. Anyway. Shadow and Bone was an interesting book, but it really didn’t reach it’s full potential, and fell into the huge factory, mass producing thousands of YA novels, all seeming the same. 5 out of 10.
Shadow and Bone
By Leigh Bardugo
Published June 5th, 2012
5 out of 10 (The Fortress of Helixity), 4.11 out of 5 (Goodreads)