Shadow and Bone Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves her life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha… and the secrets of her heart.
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|Listening Length||9 hours and 21 minutes|
|Audible.ca Release Date||November 30 2012|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #595 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#18 in Science Fiction & Fantasy for Teens
Reviewed in Canada on March 13, 2022
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The book also included a nicely drawn map.
I also really like the chapter title illustrations.
A lot of effort was put into the book's design. I can definitely see why though. YA lately are the same thing over and over, at least this one had something slightly different with the Russian and fantasy setting.
The writing was clear and very easy to get into. I definitely found the writing better than most YA books. I really liked the prologue and the epilogue's writing, probably because it was written in third person.
The setting was fun and I did enjoy it to a certain extent and there were one or two original things.
Ordinary girl finds out she has power. Taken away by organization and trained. You wouldn't believe how overused this plot line is in fantasy. Despite this, Shadow and Bone threw in a couple of surprises and it was really fun to read.
I really enjoyed it and it was such a fun read.
It was plot and fantasy with a dabble of romance.
The interesting thing about Alina was probably her power.
I liked the villain. I think everyone likes him. He's probably my favourite character.
I'll be picking up the sequel.
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on March 13, 2022
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But here we are.
Now I’ve already told a bit of a fib there because I didn’t exactly dislike Shadow and Bone – I have read far worse books – but even going into it with lowered expectations, this is not the book I thought it would be.
I fell head over heels in love with Six of Crows last year and it’s now one of my favourite books of all time. Knowing that one of the characters from that book would be making an appearance in King of Scars, I knew I’d have to read her original Grisha trilogy even though it was never a series I was particularly interested in – and at least now I know my gut instincts about this book were right.
I’m not going to sit here and compare Shadow and Bone with Six of Crows because that’s not fair on so many levels. Six of Crows is a heist story while Shadow and Bone is very much a traditional ‘chosen one’ fantasy story, they just so happen to be set in the same world, and if nothing else this book reminded me just how much I love Six of Crows. I love that we can clearly see how much Bardugo is improving with each book because Six of Crows is a masterpiece, so I’m not going to hold it against her that her earlier novel isn’t as accomplished because that’s how being an author works. Usually, authors get better at their craft with each story.
Shadow and Bone has a lot in it to be admired. It’s easy to see how this trilogy took inspiration from and went on to inspire other Russian-inspired fantasy novels, and I did like the setting and the concept of the Shadow Fold.
My main problem with this novel was the characters. I’ve seen Alina Starkov on so many ‘Favourite Heroine’ lists (and that’s nothing against the people who love her at all!) but I found her so… frustrating, and kind of boring. I wanted her to make more decisions for herself earlier in the novel, not only when her childhood friend Mal was in mortal danger. I felt like she spent the entire novel letting herself be pushed around by everyone, and while it could be argued that this was to show her develop when she finally stood up for herself I felt like I never actually knew her well enough to care when she did.
Considering the country of Ravka has been at war for years and has a big shadowy mess of literal monsters in the middle of it, I felt like I spent far too much time with Alina’s boy problems. The Darkling and Mal, and I’m sorry to say this because I know the Darkling is beloved, were kind of boring. In fact especially the Darkling, for me. I don’t think I saw enough of Mal to really have an opinion of him, but I saw plenty of the Darkling and considering he’s literally described as ‘ancient’ in this book I didn’t expect him to act like an angsty teenager.
I’m sure he has some kind of tragic past, and knowing the kind of stories I know Bardugo can write I’m sure I’ll learn more about him and start to like him more as a character (not as a person) as the series continues, but in this book he was just a bully, and I have no interest in romanticising bullies. In fact he was the worst kind of bully by lying and making himself appear to be a friend first; even all the Grisha he was nice to he was essentially using for his own gain, which I would be fine with if he was doing it honestly, but trying to seduce Alina while she thought he was someone he wasn’t? Again I know he’s beloved, but I just thought he was a bit of a creep.
And I suppose that’s the point. At least I hope so. I can’t really be annoyed with the villain for being the villain, but he’s been so romanticised by fans that I was expecting him to be more sympathetic than he is.
As for Mal, I am so bored of the childhood friend who only wants the girl when he sees her with someone else. When he and Alina had scenes together I thought they were pretty sweet – I know, Grisha fans everywhere are aghast – but, like Alina, I didn’t know enough about him or the Darkling or anyone to actually care. Alina and Mal at least had a history between them, but the ‘romance’ between Alina and the Darkling came completely out of the blue for me – or at least it started a lot faster than I was expecting.
This book was published in 2012 and, reading it now, I could really tell. This is very post-Twilight YA with the love triangle featuring a girl with no gumption, a broody bellend and a childhood friend bellend. This is a better book than Twilight and, even though it might not seem it, there was stuff in this book that I did like a lot. My problem was I wanted to know more about the politics and the war and less about how Alina was wearing her hair.
The majority of Shadow and Bone was essentially a set-up for a wider story, but I can’t help feeling it could have been a few chapters at the beginning of another book rather than a whole book by itself.
I do understand why this book is so well-loved and this is very much just my opinion! I think I was ruined for this trilogy reading Six of Crows first, but I’m glad I read the books this way around because I might not have enjoyed this trilogy enough to be inclined to pick Six of Crows up if I’d read Shadow and Bone first.
If nothing else, Shadow and Bone was fun and fast-paced and, even though I didn’t love it, I’m hoping I’ll enjoy the rest of the trilogy and I think a Netflix adaptation will be really fun to watch!
She was one of the most powerful beings in this universe and the author throws all that away so she can be with some guy. This is a YA novel and we shouldn't be telling young adults and teens that this is what love looks like, being stripped of all that makes you special so a man doesn't feel inferior. I know that author was probably going for a "he loves me just way I am" situation but a relationship where you're not able to grow as a person is not a relationship worth fighting for (certainly not one worth losing all your superpowers for). I know the main character didn't intentionally loose her powers for a guy but the author made it so when she put the protagonist in the exact position the male love interest wanted her in.
It's a shame because the world is fascinating and the plot and premise is page-turning, it was ripe with opportunities of female empowerment but the author decides to keep her main charcter in a bubble and doesn't let her act like what she is, a being with God-like powers who should eventually (after some personally growth) act like that and not bow to insecure and violent men. Go read Six Of Crows (maybe my all time favourite book) it's in the same universe but the characters are incredible and compelling especially the women. Six Of Crows is the author's later work and clearly shows a significant characterization improvement and how the authors evolved as a person and a writer.
The world-building is complex and with well-defined characters. The storyline has a perfect amount of action, peppered with relaxed moments so that the reader can breathe and contemplate everything that is happening in this book.
Based on Russian culture, Ravka is a land divided by war and split in two by a barrier of darkness called the Unsea in which terrifying creatures lurk, making it hard for anyone to cross it without being torn apart. Until Alina Starkov makes her way into the Fold. She's an apprentice mapmaker in the army who somehow saves her fellow soldiers when they enter the expanse of land where there is no light. She then discovers she's a Grisha, a person who has a magical ability. Alina has a rare power, one that can be matched only by the Darkling, the leader of the Grisha. The only problem is that she doesn't know how to wield it so she's sent to the royal palace to learn how to control her magic.
I like how Bardugo uses the contrast between light and darkness to convey the fact that sometimes things and events around us are as seen in just in black and white. The veil of naivety is torn from Alina's eyes when she discovers that everyone in the kingdom depends on her and sees her as their saviour. She is a strong heroine, full of wit and wisdom and has a kind heart. Her relationship with Mal, the boy who's always been by her side since they were orphaned as children, was heartwarming. They care deeply for one another but they just don't know how to express their feelings and that just confuses them and makes up for a lot of angsty moments. But as always my favourite character is the villain. The Darkling got my attention from the first moment and what a remarkable villain he is. He's a seductive and mysterious character, but at the same time frightening and very dangerous. His ability to control darkness turns him into the strongest and most feared Grisha of all time, making him an insightful strategist and an influential and charismatic leader.
Shadow and Bone is the kind of book that simply makes you visualize the scenes, like watching a movie. The characters gradually evolve throughout the book, but they do not forget where they started. Leigh Bardugo has created a unique and fantastic world, full of magic, adventure, power and suspense that will capture your hearts. I can't wait to read more!
Alina Starkov is a mapmaker on such a crossing when the regiment is attacked. One of her friends is killed and her best friend Mal is about to be. In an effort to save him Alina reveals herself to be Grisha. Usually, Grisha are detected as children, but no abilities were discovered in Alina at this testing.
The Grisha are people who can use magic (called The Small Science here) to summon certain elements, heal, make special artefacts, etc. The most powerful of them all is The Darkling. He summons shadows. Alina is The Sun Summoner.
Alina is taken away to The Little Palace, where she will learn to use her powers. The Darkling informs her that The Shadow Fold was created by one of his ancestors in an accident born of greed for more power. The Darkling has spent his life trying to fix this mistake and get rid of The Shadow Fold, but he has not been able to. But with the powers of The Sun Summoner and The Darkling combined, this may now be possible.
I did enjoy reading this book. As I mention, Leigh Bardugo writes beautifully and I was certainly hooked. However, this book was incredibly derivative. There are a lot of parallels with The Magicians Guild by Trudi Canavan, which is a significantly better series. The Darkling shared a lot of similarities with The Dark Lord from the Mistborn books by Brandon Sanderson (phenomenal world-building in that series).
One of my issues with these books and others like it is that the female main character is usually depicted as this malnourished, unlovable creature, whilst any love interest is created as a stereotypical ideal of masculinity. Yuck!
I did like the overall story. It was a fun read and I liked how this first instalment ended.
Despite the immense popularity of these books and its adaptation last year this is somehow my first time reading anything set within the Grishaverse and I honestly don’t know how. Surprisingly it’s not my first novel by the author though – I’m probably one of the few readers who managed to pick up her unrelated books before getting to Leigh Bardugo’s major series. And why exactly? I honestly don’t have the faintest clue. I’ve been wanting – and meaning – to read these books for years now I just never got around to it. But thank goodness that I finally have because I adored them. I honestly did devour around about ninety percent of this book in a day; something that I found particularly surprising as it wasn’t the quietest of days either.
When it comes to fantasy novels I really enjoy getting to explore a new world so I’m thrilled to say that Leigh Bardugo has crafted a fantastic one with so much potential. There are tensions, disturbing creatures, impenetrable darkness, a class divide, two armies, neighbouring lands, an incredibly long war and magic. Oh magic! The system in this book is fantastic and I love how all of the different Grisha are classed. It’s fascinating to see how they vary and there were so many points in time that left me thinking: ‘I want to explore this setting more’. The school where newly discovered Grisha are sent and Alina’s childhood home being just two examples. The potential for book two is incredible and I simply cannot wait to delve deeper into this realm.
Character wise I was over the moon. Already Alina has the promise and potential to be the sort of strong, fiery heroine that I love whilst also having an undeniable draw to darkness. Mal; oh Mal. Honestly he melted my heart on many an occasion. For years now I’ve seen mentions of The Darkling too and yes, I confess, I can definitely see the appeal. I seriously hope that this series shares some of his lengthy history. There were supporting characters who I adored too although I’m not entirely certain how far I can truly trust some of them. Isn’t that always divine in a fantasy novel though? Plus I’ve heard that the author’s favourite character is introduced in book two so I’m majorly excited to meet them now also!
As soon as I picked this book up I was hooked on it. The prologue was written in such a rich and wondrous way that left me simply itching to know more. It definitely has a start to remember. And then, as I continued reading, each new major turn of events and change of surroundings left me increasingly addicted to the pages of this book. On many an occasion I was smiling madly at the banter between various individuals also.
Needless to say I recommend this book and plan to immediately lose myself within the pages of its sequel. I can honestly say that I have no clue where everyone will end up but I truly can’t wait to find out. 2022 is definitely going to be the year that I devour all things Grisha-related as, judging by this entry into their world, I’m going to be well and truly obsessed.