I finished Shadow & Bone trilogy in a day! | Book Review


DISCLAIMER: This review is a bit spoilery so if you haven't and are planning to read it, you might want to skip this post.

You might think it's an exaggeration but I assure you, I absolutely did not. It is a very rare occasion but I did the same thing finishing The Raven Cycle a long time ago. It happens when I get too invested in a story. I just finished my foundation, I have a lot of time to spare and I don't feel like getting out of bed very much. It sounds like a perfect time to binge-read some series for me.

I had been wanting to read this series for a long time, I borrowed Shadow and Bone from my local library twice; once in 2017 and the other time in 2018. Both times I ended up only finishing two chapters and I couldn't get into it. I'm glad I tried to start reading it again because this time I actually finished Shadow and Bone and not just the first book but the whole trilogy! Actually, I just wanted to finish this book quickly so that I could start reading the Six of Crows duology because people are still talking about it until now, the hype is real!

Goodreads rating: 4.02
Goodreads rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Pages: 358
Publication: June 5th 2012 by Henry Holt and Company
Source: Sabah State Library
Reading Format: Paperback

Goodreads rating: 4.02
Goodreads rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Pages: 435
Publication: June 4th 2013 by Henry Holt and Company
Source: Sabah State Library
Reading Format: Paperback

Goodreads rating: 4.13
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Pages: 422
Publication: June 17th 2014 by Henry Holt and Company
Source: Sabah State Library
Reading Format: Paperback


After watching many people hyping this series up, I gotta admit that the series as a whole was a little bit underwhelming for me. If I had read this during my The Hunger Games phase, I probably would like it but since my standard for good fantasy book has risen up in quite a significant amount ever since I started reading YA, I was expecting to be absolutely mind-blown but this book was a bit less from what I expected.

My personal rating for each book is based on plot, writing style, world-building and characters

highlights of the whole series

1. Alina's character development. She went from this average girl with very low leadership quality, bad combatting skill to a good leader, a very good fighter and a powerful opponent for a 120-year-old villain who had been using his power for basically his whole life when she just knew she had her power for a few months. She grew up so much in the span of a few months and I really loved that.
I don't care if you think I'm a Saint or a fool or the Darkling's whore. If you want to remain at Little Palace, you will follow me. And if you don't like it, you will be gone by tonight, or I will have you in chains. I am a soldier. I am the Sun Summoner. I am the only chance you have.

2. Malyen's character development. Even in the first book, I got this unfondness feeling towards him and in the second book, I hated him so much. I knew that he loved Alina and I understood that it was hard for him to cope with Alina's changes; her character really developed during the months they were separated and when they finally met again, suddenly, she wasn't really the girl he knew anymore. I got that all the stuff that happened in their country and whatever happened to both him and Alina really took a toll on him but I thought he was holding Alina back from becoming who she really is. Alina did play a huge role in him becoming more and more annoying in the second book but even if I try to reason myself that he was just going through a hard time because of Alina, he was still a big jerk to Alina even when he knew that she did what she did to protect him as well as the country they both belong to.
“I wasn't afraid of you, Alina. I was afraid of losing you. That girl you were becoming didn't need me anymore, but she's who you were always meant to be."
"Power-hungry? Ruthless?"
He looked away.
"Luminous. And maybe a little ruthless too. That's what it takes to rule. Ravka is broken, Alina. I think it always has been. The girl I saw in the chapel could change that.”
In the third book, however, he became this guy that just wanted to help Alina in finishing her mission and would do anything to help her, whether they'll get together or not. Instead of being the one who held Alina back, he supported her, he helped her and most of all, he believed in Alina. He grew even stronger than how he usually was and I love that he redeemed himself, considering he was Alina's one and true love.

3. The Darkling, basically his whole existence. Out of all the characters in the book, The Darkling had the most depth. His backstory was the most interesting out of all the characters and I think this is the reason The Darkling was everyone's favourite despite all the massacres he had done. His presence in every scene that he was in and wasn't was really huge, he had this kind of irresistible essence to him. This is probably coming from my obsession with bad boys haha. Despite that, everything he had done is unquestionably wrong and shouldn't be justified at all.

4. 7 letters, start with 'N' and ends with 'I', NIKOLAI. Is there even a reason to explain? He was literally my dream guy. Welcome to my life, my new book boyfriend. He was charming even more than the Prince Charming himself. Although he was a prince and that should give him a huge privilege, that didn't stop him from trying to improve himself in many aspects.
I did apprentice with a Fjerdan shipbuilder. And a Zemeni gunsmith. And a civil engineer from the Han Province of Bolh. Tried my hand at poetry for a while.
He has the best leadership quality, intelligence, had a strategic mind, basically all that it takes to be a good king.
I was impressed, and also unnerved. Being around Nikolai was always like this, watching him shift and change, revealing secrets as he went. He reminded me of the wooden nesting dolls I'd played with as a child. Except instead of getting smaller, he just kept getting grander and more mysterious. Tomorrow, he'd probably tell me he'd built a pleasure palace on the moon. Tough to get to, but quite a view.

5. The unique magic system. I'm still very lacking in the experience of reading fantasy books so this whole elemental magic thing is still very new to me. It was a bit hard to understand at first; the whole world-building really confused me because there were a lot of terms that I couldn't understand and it felt like I jumped right into the world, the fight and the drama without any knowledge and why and how or what. Once I started to understand the system, I could see that all their powers were really cool and I really enjoyed discovering more things about the potential of the characters' powers and the world itself.

All in all, this trilogy was really great. I'm really looking forward to reading more Grishaverse books, especially Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom which everyone is still raving about after years of being published. The characters were all lovable and would stay in your mind for quite some time. The author managed to make me finish the trilogy in one day, so I think that says a lot about this book and her writing; it was pretty addictive. If you love a story with good character development, a world with a unique magic system, a well-thought plot, an entertaining read and making a good escape, I totally recommend you to read this book.

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