Shadow and Bone Buddy Read, Part 2

Hello everyone! This is my response to the second half Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, for 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 and my response here, if you like to read those.

Lori will be posting her response to this letter on Wednesday, October 28th, so you can expect that. As a close to the first book, we will also be posting a Q&A, in which we each ask the other questions about the book–these will go up on Sunday, November first. Enjoy!

Dear Lori,

I read this second half just as quickly as I did the first half, and the end left me trying to decide what I was feeling.

I eventually figured out that I didn’t really feel much of anything, which I think is a bit of a shame. There are a lot of parts to this book that I figure I should have enjoyed—Alina wasn’t a terrible protagonist, the romance wasn’t awful (well, one part of it was, and the other to be discussed below), the world was fascinating, and the power system intrigued me. It wasn’t that I didn’t care, or that I disliked it, but there was no wow factor for me.

I just kept waiting for something to resonate for me, to get a response out of me, but rather than reacting emotionally, I found myself noticing plot points and analyzing it a little. I can see where this book fits into a plot structure I’ve used. From an analytical perspective, I can appreciate the bookends of the “before” and the “after” chapters (and I like that they’re titled as such). I am interested in doing some reverse engineering and analyzing the hell out of this book, but… my emotions weren’t in play.

I still don’t really like Mal, and I can’t decide if I care enough about his relationship with Alina to be invested in that relationship deteriorating or if that is something I don’t care about. I am also a little concerned about future handling of the antagonist (I hope you know who I’m talking about). I worry that he’ll be flanderized, his evil exaggerated. The clarity of his motivations is muddled by the perspective we’re given, so we as reader don’t get the satisfaction of knowing what is actually true. This bothers me a little bit, because I wanted to think that it wasn’t all a scheme, but the text is driving me a little in that direction.

I close this out a little dissatisfied, really.

What did you think of it? I am really curious to see how you feel about the competing romances and the antagonist in particular. I wonder how he fares in the sequels.


Thanks for reading!
Have you read Shadow and Bone?
What did you think of it?
Will you be joining in on the buddy ready?
Feel free to comment on the letter with
your thoughts and feelings about the book or to
further discussion!

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2 thoughts on “Shadow and Bone Buddy Read, Part 2

  1. I haven’t read Shadow and Bone just yet even though I own it, but I’m definitely planning on it soon. I have Six Of Crows, and was told I should read the Grisha series first because I’d be spoiled for the series if I don’t, BUT I’m hardheaded so I’m diving in anyway lol. Are you planning on reading SOC?

    Liked by 1 person

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