My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Shadow and Bone was the easiest read I’ve had in a while. Time past and suddenly I was 50 pages further. I breezed through the entire book, sucking in the story. That said, it wasn’t a complete hook, line, and sinker for me. The plot was light, leaving all the heavy lifting to the characters which isn’t a bad thing, but kept this from getting a full five stars.
Alina was a tougher character for me to like. This is largely because of her own struggles with power. In the beginning she is described as weak, but her personality isn’t quite that way. Rather she is a confident person being shielded within a person who’s believed she isn’t good enough. However, we see her confidence shine through even as she believes she can’t do anything. As the novel progresses that hidden confidence grows and as it does her actions come more frequently. Rather than passively reacting and getting frustrated she either reacts to better her situation or makes the first first move. She’s getting there and in time I have a feeling I will come to love her.
Speaking of love, the romance between Mal and Alina was a great start but I didn’t feel as fulfilling. The passion just didn’t seem to be there. I didn’t buy how much she lusted after him. I didn’t believe that she felt romantic love for him. That does not mean she didn’t love him. That was abundantly clear as her thoughts trailed to him and she cared for his well being. In fact, Alina’s love for Mal was one of the strongest elements of the novel. I fully believed how much she did love him. It didn’t feel shallow, but well earned.
The Darkling is an interesting villain in the sense that I know he’s the villain, but I still don’t want to believe it. Just like Alina fell for his charm, so did I, but I couldn’t snap out of it. Even as I write this, I still find myself hoping that we will see more of the Darkling’s other sides and not just his villainy. As of now, he’s complex, yet driven by power. He deceived Alina, but I still struggle to accept it. I don’t want this to be such a straight forward twist, which is what made me struggle though the latter portion of the book. The Darkling was such the obvious villain that I didn’t want it to be true since I was drawn to his character.
Like I mentioned previously, the novel was very light on plot. the early chapters fooled me as things moved and progressed quickly. Then it slowed down and even through the ending never picked back up. There simply wasn’t a whole lot that happened in this novel. That said, what did happen was certain to leave you completely engrossed because of the characters.