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Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holtz and Company
Publication Date: June 5th, 2012
Rating: 4/5 STARS
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I had high expectations going into Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I wanted to dive into the world of Ravka feeling like I was eating all the delicous hot fudge and mint chocolate chip sundaes I ate last week. The type of treat I wish I could dive into forever. I wanted the story to be even better then I expected.
The Before section appeared like it honored my wish. It was styled like a wonderful fairy-tale. I felt grief when the magnificent section ended. I wish the whole story could have been written in the Before section’s style that I eased into so easily.
Bardugo creativity in her plotting of the story honored my wish as well. I liked how the mysterious ending to the Before section was continued ingeniously, at the perfect point, as a memory of Alina. Along with Alina, I was constantly unsure if the Darkling should be trusted. Every event of the story was significant. Every character brought excitement.
Sadly my wish was not honored fully because of my mixed feelings for Alina as a protagonist. I liked how she had no desire to be special and was a caring friend. I disliked how she constantly was insecure and vain. She constantly cringed about her own ugliness. I enjoy some characters that desire beauty but they usually understand that beauty does not necessarily mean a happy life. Likewise, I liked her strength to not give up and keep moving forward. I empathized with her flaw of being too trusting but I never really cared about Alina. It was the other characters I cared about.
My wish was granted by the incredible characters of Mal and Darkling and the amazing connection they both had with Alina. Mal was so sweet, so brave and so captivating. Every page without Mal left me sad. After the brilliant beginning, I feel in love with Mal and my love for him grew throughout the whole story. I missed him as much as Alina and I only knew him for about fifty pages. His friendship with Alina was real and admirable. I love how he brought out the best in Alina and was unwavering loyal even when he was mad. I would love the world if Mal is the protagonist and voice of the sequel!
The Darkling is one of the most brilliant characters brought to the world of books. Along with Alina, I was never sure he was good or bad. Along with Alina, I learned that he is complex and has undenyingly good reasons for the injustice he commits. He acknowledges the true darkness of the world he lives in. He is enchanting at the same time as being terrifying. I enjoyed every romantic and tension-filled moment between him and Alina.