Review: Shadow and Bone

Series: The Shadow and Bone Trilogy: #1

Series: Grishaverse: #1

Browsing through Netflix last fall, I came upon Shadow and Bone. Watched it. Quite enjoyed it. Figured I should read the book.

In a nutshell, it’s not bad, but I enjoyed the show more. For one, it pulls in Kaz and co, which don’t appear in this novel at all (they’re originally from the related Six of Crows books), which is a bummer. For two, the additional dynamic of Alina as half-Shu in addition to being an orphan added rather a lot to her character.

On the other hand, there’s a lot I enjoyed about the show that came from the book. The whole idea of the Grisha and the magicbuilding here is interesting, with a number of related powers you can be born into, but also with a lot more variation than you often get–plus the ability to train specific aspects of a power, to become a Heartrender or a Healer. The dark scar splitting the land–with land based ships powered by wind magic–is pretty cool in any world. I particularly liked the 1800sish Russian influences on a lot of the world. It’s a neat aesthetic, different from a lot of what I’ve read.

On the other other hand, oy is this book YA at times. Nothing wrong with that, but I want… a bit more? There is so much of the book built around the cliques of the Grisha, about straight up magic school escapism, and a weird love triangle (with a much older man…). It feels like it takes forever for something to actually happen, although it’s pretty cool when it does. If not for the worldbuilding and the promise in that last few sections, I would have liked the book somewhat less.

So overall, worth a read and I’m curious about the sequels–and the parallel Six of Crows. Onward!