Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

  

Title: Shadow and Bone

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance

My Rating: 4.45/ 5 stars

Goodreads rating: 4.08/5 stars

Summary: 

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 his 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.

Cover: 4/5

I have the beautiful paperback cover which has the one of the coolest  fonts I have seen on a book.
  

  
Review:

So a lot of you guys will know that I finished Six Of Crows and I loved it so much! The Grisha world is so interesting and intriguing, Bardugo did a brilliant of building up the countries and cultures and so on and so forth in SoC and this was my first time reading any of her novels. 

I was having a bit of of book withdrawal and I needed to pick up a book quickly which followed a story similar or a familiar scene. Shadow and Bone was the first thing that sprung into me mind. Yes! A trilogy set in the world that was intriguing and fresh and based on Russia! 

I know that I probably did the unwise thing and read SoC before the Grisha trilogy, but I couldn’t care less and I picked up the book the day after I finished SoC.
Though you can tell that Bardugo’s writing has improved since the trilogy, Shadow and Bone is still a great book and her are my thoughts broken down.

Plot: 

I thought the plot was very Red Queen-esque or should I say that Red Queen was inspired by the novel loads.

The story follows a girl called Alinea who discover she has Grisha powers and she gets swept up in Grisha court life and the dark and seductive Darkling who has taken a keen interest in his ‘Sun Summoner’. 

I really enjoyed following the story through Alina’s eyes and I was surprisingly comfortable in the first person POV. Sometimes I did wish that why had the Darkling’s POV or Mal’s POV because that would add another dimension to the story. I mean imagine being in the dark and merciless mind of the Darkling…*gains composure * anyway…

The plot was really fast and such a page turner, I read this book in two sittings and I have no regrets.The story I feel was broken down into two parts and I have enjoyed the the second part my than the first. The second part of the story was just quick and always moving and I think developed the characters more. 

And before I forget, the plot twists were so bloody shocking and executed brilliantly!

Writing:

The writing was rather simple and standard of a good YA author. Nothing felt jarring, but smooth each scene moving on without any stop starts.

My one complaint I think I have about the writing is that the descriptions weren’t as engaging as I hoped it would be. I felt myself skipping over passages of description because it said things that could probably be summed up in one word.

Characters: 

I had very strong feelings towards the cast of characters in this novel which I guess is a good thing. Alina was a solid protagonist. Sometimes you were cheering her on and other times you wanted to throttle her. Overall she was pretty likeable and I can’t wait to read on about her story  in the Storn and Siege.

The next character I want to talk about is Mal who was your typical I-grew-up-with-main-character love interest which was fine because his charming character and unwavering loyalty was great to read. Though he did have an angst couple of pages which was kind of explained but I still wanted a better apology for it.

I would talk about the Darkling but I think it would unleash too many spoilers so I will just say I LOVED HIM, BUT I HATED IT TOO.

What I liked:

  • The different aray of characters 
  • Gripping plot 
  • Lovely world building
  • The plot twists!

What I disliked:

  • The sometimes lengthy descriptions

Verdict: This was a brilliant first book for a trilogy that I have a big interest in reading on. I recommend this book to people who have or haven’t read Six Of Crows because it does an amazing job in building up the Grisha world loads and the plot twists and characters were more than intriguing to hold up such a big storyline.

I’ll write soon.

-Astra




Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

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Title:Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
My Rating: 4.25 stars
Goodreads rating: 4.35

Summary (Goodreads): Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.


Cover: 4/5

It’s really eye catching and lovely to look at. And when you take of the jacket *giggles* it gets so much better.



Review: When people say that they flew through the pages of a book I think yeah yeah course you did, but Crowley, when I was reading this book I was on page 109 one minute and 259 the next. It felt like magic, how could of have only been reading for an hour and made such progress? So when I say this is a fast paced book- I seriously mean it. I had to make a conscious effort to not read for long periods of time just so I stretched out this novel a bit. I could of easily finished this on Tuesday, but a hung on a bit longer and I am very glad I did. This book was highly amusing and fun to read! I was smiling stupid while reading it!

Plot: If I said the chosen one, a smart best friend, a sworn nemesis, a ‘wise’ mentor, a magical school, wands and a magical war you would probably think Harry Potter. And you would be right to think that, but now two names are going to pop up into my head: Harry Potter and Simon Snow. These are only a few similarities with Harry Potter that I pointed out. It’s like Harry Potter with a fresh in cast and a new adventure to follow. Sometimes I felt myself rolling my eyes in a half joking matter and other times gasping in shock because I thought they were going to take the simple and predictable route, but took a different turn. So to put it simply- Carry On isn’t a carbon copy of Harry Potter, but more like a heavily Harry Potter inspired story.

I will stop talking about Harry Potter now because it wouldn’t be fair- this is a new novel in its own right.

There are many POV changes during the book (seriously, one line then another POV) but they are never really infuriating (maybe Agatha’s towards the end) and I loved getting inside other characters brains so quickly and then leave a moment later, which made the book very quick to read. The book is definitely character driven and I could tell this because whenever someone asked me what the book was about, I felt that I had to tell them all about the characters to explain the plot (does that makes sense?). Nothing really wrong with that but after I finished the book it did make me wonder what the hell I read for 517 pages. All of the action seemed to happen in the last 100 pages so what happened to the other 417 pages? But it did feel like a lot of stuff was happening- it now feels like an illusion.

Even though all of the ‘action’ was taking place I felt hollow. I don’t know what that means because I did really enjoy reading the book, it’s just that the story didn’t hold my head under water, like other stories do. But because it is a character driven story I will talk about this more on the character section of this book.

Lastly, I loved how they cast spells in this book and all of the British and pop culture references, those were appreciated!

Characters: Simon Snow is a typical chosen one, brave, naive, too trusting and rather special in everyone’s eyes. Simon was a pretty likable character overall, I never felt his character was annoying and I rather enjoyed reading his POV chapters because those chapters had bucket loads of world-building unlike some (cough cough Lucy cough cough).

Penelope was pretty likable and 5 points to Rowell because she was half Indian and English and not just a full on English gal she could of easily been. Her witty comments were really appreciated! I wish I could of learned more about her and her life because she did seen genuinely interesting.

Baz. Oh how I loved Baz’s character! He was funny, smart and dark and yes yes YES! The whole vampire part was not roadkill in my opinion but nicely written for his character. His and Simon’s conversations were entertaining to read and I don’t think you can’t help but like Baz though he can be a bit rude and lovey dovey and angsty.

HOWEVER, even though I am saying all of these nice things, I didn’t feel connected to any of these characters. I wish there was much more deep character development. They stayed flat and I hate flat! And with this being a largely character driven story I feel that I should of felt more for these characters.

What I liked:

  • How fast paced the book was
  • The writing was on point! Smooth and enjoyable.
  • The twists and turns of the plot
  • British and pop culture references

What I disliked:

  • That the characters didn’t have many layers to them
  • How the plot seemed missing sometimes
  • (Too many Harry Potter-like things?)

Verdict: A great, quick read with some light hearted and dark moments mixed in together, though the flat characters and missing plot sometimes let it down slightly. But I still recommend this novel to fans of romance, fantasy and maybe Harry Potter!

-Astra