2022 Book Review: Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

YA Fantasy, 2012 by Henry Holt and Company, 358 Pages 

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Weird pacing. There are some slow spots where things aren’t really moving that drag the book down. 
  • A tiny bit too much focus on the romance side of things, in my opinion. I read (and absolutely adored) Six of Crows by this same author. That balance between romance side lines and main storyline was brilliant. This one leans a little too much toward a focus on romance. Plus, the romance doesn’t work. I could probably rant about the romance in the book for a while, but I’m going to move on instead. 
  • Tiny bit predictable. I can forgive this in younger novels, which this read like, but one of the big twists was not a surprise at all. I’d be shocked if someone told me they didn’t see it coming. 

What I Did Like:

  • Gray characters. You aren’t sure who you should trust for most of the book, which I adore. I love when a character is written well enough to make me question their motives. Even at the end, there’s still some morally grayness left for book two. 
  • The concept of this magic was well developed. Really, that’s what this book should be known for. There’s a lot here to learn about the grisha and how they work. You’re learning it alongside the main character and you’ll likely be learning it well into the series. It’s complex and I like that!
  • Along those same lines, the concept of amplifiers is excellent. This is something unique to the series that could have major consequences for future books in the series. I’d like to see this play out more to draw out those major themes that seem to be simmering under the surface of this book. 

Who Should Read This One:

  • Fans of YA fantasy that include romance and love triangles. 
  • Magic YA fantasy fans who want a complex system. 
  • Fans of morally gray characters. 

My Rating: 3 Stars 

  • The magic system is enough to propel you through the weird pacing of this first book and into what promises to be a decent series.

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