I picked up this book one lunch hour at the local Book Warehouse because the idea of it grabbed me. It’s called Shadow and Bone and it’s written by Leigh Bardugo. This is my kind of book. Some romance, some magic, and a good amount of fantasy things going on. So here’s what I thought.
**THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS***
This book starts out slow. A chapter of our main character as a child that drags a little, followed by a sudden jump to her being older, not very good at her job, unattractive and kind of a whiner. Still, having read the back cover I know things change around for her.
What follows is a drawn out version of getting things going. It goes on and on with her feelings for her best friend Mal, who is a bit of a young womanizer and doesn’t seem to have a clue about life. Basically he’s gotten all the looks, and she’s gotten…well nothing. But boom, something happens and suddenly she’s special. She’s broken up about having to leave her best friend, who’s she’s in love with, and has to go live with the other people of magic. Only she’s rare, like super rare, so she’s treated well and they’re all either jealous or really want to get to know her. She’s still ugly by the way. But as she learns her abilities, she gets pretty.
I realize I’m starting to sound a little sarcastic above, but when I write about her character, I can’t help but just think…she’s a whiner. She’s been given this great opportunity, and she whines about it. But there is a redeeming feature, and that’s The Darkling.
This ridiculously awesome character is everything you want in a broody bad boy. He’s handsome, dark and absurdly powerful. But what’s more, is that is power has made him lonely. He is as unique as she is, and the author does a lovely job of setting up a love interest that we as the audience feels for so deeply, we don’t ever remember that other guy from the beginning of the book. He’s kind to her, sweet to her, seems to like her, is a little confused about his own feelings…and ultimately evil?
Wait. He’s using her? Hold up a second.
The turning point in the book where the old love interest comes back, and we find out the new love interest isn’t a nice guy is so abrupt and shocking I swear I had to stop, re-read the page, and then ponder for like an hour before continuing.
I like a good twist that you weren’t expecting, but this was a little absurd. You took a character who you had successfully convinced me to but all my emotional pull into, you made me care for him and feel truly like he was someone who just wanted a friend, and then you literally tore it from my chest. This wasn’t just a twist. This was a blatant lie to set up something meant to spoil everything you were hoping for in this book.
And at the end, when she’s getting away, she can’t use her powers so she’s ugly again.
I mean seriously. The first half of this book had me thinking ‘man, this is going to go on my ‘read a hundred times’ shelf with the others’. The second half made me want to throw it across the room and pout at being mislead and disjointed. Apparently there’s a second book. Going to do some research before I bother buying it.