Shadow and Bone — Buddy Read Response Letter #1

Hello everyone! This is response #1 of the Grisha Buddy Read between myself and Lori at Books o’ the Wisp. You can find Lori’s introductory letter (that’s right, we’re writing letters) here so be sure to read that for context! This section goes through the end of Chapter 12 of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.

And yes, these letters will be spoiler-free pre-reviews.

Dear Lori,

I read the book just as quickly, and I can’t decide if it’s the formatting, my loving it, or me remembering the first five chapters from the first time I had picked it up (I read those chapters before I even bought the book). The only reason I put it down is because I had so much homework to do. The ending spot was really a great one—I don’t know how we got that lucky, but I would recommend to any of our readers that, if they split up a reading for whatever reason, they make one of the stops occur at the end of the Chapter 12. Beautiful.

Just as the world is. I’ve seen some complaining about how it isn’t true to Russia (apparently, it’s Russia-inspired) but I don’t know how much that bothers me. It’s fantasy. I would like for a culture to be fairly represented, but there’s a difference between being inspired by something and trying to represent it. Shadow and Bone is not, as far as I know, set in an alternative Russia as much as it is set in a world the author created with Russian influences (was that convoluted enough?).

The worldbuilding, though, is just wonderful. I couldn’t get enough of learning about it, and even the summaries of the textbooks that Alina shares really fascinated me. It sounds like the author really has it figured out, and that is definitely good to think.

As for the characters, I’m not particularly attached to anyone yet, really. Alina is fine. Just fine. I feel no passion or adoration or love for her. As far as I know, it won’t happen, but I kind of want Mal to die (I feel as though he would be more useful that way) and I keep waiting for the Darkling to impress me. I hope the Apparat goes in a really dark direction (so much potential) but I have doubts as to whether that will be realized. I’m more in love with the world and the setting (I do have to differentiate there; the world is to me the overarching thing, whereas the setting is the Little Palace and school-like feel) than I am with really anything else.

I think the end of Chapter 12 was such a good place to stop because it’s the turning point in the middle of the second act. Everything has to change now. We’ll see what I’m thinking when I put up the next letter for the second half of the book!


Thanks for reading!
Have you read Shadow and Bone?
What did you think of it? No spoilers, please!
Feel free to comment on the letter with
your thoughts and feelings about the book or to
further discussion!

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5 thoughts on “Shadow and Bone — Buddy Read Response Letter #1

  1. I didn’t like Shadow and Bone much, to be honest. I feel like we have similar thoughts on the book — I actually didn’t pick up on the Russian inspiration, so if I went into this with the wrong expectations, I would be annoyed, but since I didn’t know, it was fine by me. I’m also really unimpressed by Alina — Darkling is okay I guess — but Mal, seriously, why even. The magic system is really cool but I couldn’t connect enough with the characters.

    Have fun with your buddy read!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope you will read the sequel! Based on your expectations, the Darkling will probably impress you 😀 Alina will probably remain just fine, llike you say, and as for Mal, no spoilers! I do agree that the worldbuilding is amazing! Starting with the map, the foreign words here and there, and even the names used, all are part of the huge world Leigh Bardugo created. :3

    Liked by 1 person

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