Here’s the thing. I have a lot going on. I’m finishing rewrites on the end of my book before giving it to my friend for feedback. I’m responding to the feedback I already have on the earlier parts of my book. I’m trying to figure out Kickstarter stuff and self-publishing. I’m getting ready for a foster care home study. *that last one is FREAKING me out*
Clearly, I shouldn’t be reading. And I wouldn’t have…only I got sucked into this book as if sirens were singing me onto the rocks.
I ordered Shadow and Bone book because of the outstanding blog reviews; plus, it’s on Amazon’s teen books of the month. Amazon has been so right on, for me, about these book of the month books–that if the plot appeals at all–I’ll pre-order the book based upon their recommendation alone. But I didn’t get their recommendation alone. Kirkus Reviews loved it. YA bloggers loved it. Goodreads loves it.
*I stole this image from Amazon.*
So, when the book came I opened the box and looked it over. I was gonna just shelve it for later, but the cover was so pretty, so I glanced through a few pages. The art at the beginning was lovely (it’s a great map), so I just looked at the first few pages. *I know, I know…*
It had a prologue, so I started reading without thinking about it. And you know what? I didn’t stop. I got the book on the release date. Less than 24 hours later, I was done with it. I would have finished it that night, but I have a job. *sigh*
So what is it about this book that pulled me in?
I honestly don’t know. Little things that added up. The main character is fun and believable. Her love interest(s) are both utterly compelling. But she’s never hemming and hawing angsty over them. When the reveal comes at the end, I was actually a bit surprised. But immediately, it was clear–all the cues were there. I missed them, but I wasn’t really looking too much for them. (Of course, I was guzzling the novel, so there wasn’t a lot of thought over cues either. ) The magic made utter sense. It’s one of those compelling fantasy worlds, and it was complicated but never unclear. It all felt real. Plus the author is amazing. Here’s a section of the book that had me going, “heck yeah.”
“The boy and the girl glanced at each other, and because the adults were not paying close attention, they did not see the girl reach out to clasp the boy’s hand or the look that passed between them. The Duke would have recognized that look. He had spent long years on the ravaged northern borders, where the villages were constantly under siege and the peasants fought their battles with little aid from the King or anyone else. He had seen a woman, barefoot and unflinching in her doorway, face down a row of bayonets. He knew the look of a man defending his home with nothing but a rock in his hand.” (from the prologue of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo)
The imagery is, obviously, chilling. But you know what else is beautiful about this passage? Seemingly without effort, the author lets you know lots of stuff:
1) the country is so war torn–the Duke has seen multiple instances of devastating battle
2) the King isn’t helping so the country is kinda effed.
3) those children love each other desperately and completely
I’m sure there’s more there too, but I’m no longer in the business of writing literary essays.
So, 5 STARS from Amanda
If you just like to read, read this.
I never read by genre alone, but if you’re one of those types, you might like this if you really like fantasy type worlds like the ones you find in The Blue Sword, Graceling, maybe even the YA version (and seriously scaled down) Game of Thrones, you’d probably dig this book.