Here's the summary from Goodreads: Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee. Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.
What I Liked: 1) Alina's relationship with Mal. I love their friendship, as it progresses from childhood as it gets to what it is now. You get that even though they are only friends, they are willing to do anything for each other. This relationship was very well written and even thought we don't really see how it begins, it's easy to imagine how these two grew up together. And even beyond that, the development throughout the book is very well done. 2) Mal. I just liked Malyen. He was very...real. Such a guy in the way he acted and the way he was clueless about certain things, but also strong and confident in a way that brought a lot to the story. His flaws make him very human, and I just thought he was an awesome character. 3) The setting. Ravka is a fantastical place to visit, imaginative and creative. It was truly the star of this story, because every inch of it was something new.
What I Didn't Like: The plot. Oooo...that's a big one. I won't say I didn't like the story, because it was intriguing. But it was very...event driven. Something big would happen, and then the next 30 pages would be full of boring drivel. Then there was another EVENT. Then more smoke that added nothing to the story. It was similar to a stop/start plot line, but different in that things kept flowing, without much direction or point. I found myself having to force myself to get through the next pages, just waiting for the next big thing to happen.
Overall Thoughts: If you love exploring fantasy worlds, Shadow and Bone has quite a place for you. There are some well-developed characters, and explosive events that drive the plot. However, if you pulled out everything that was distracting and unnecessary, you'd whittle a 358 page book down to about 98 pages. This one wasn't for me, and I will not be continuing with the series, but I wish everyone well who truly does love it, and would recommend you looking this on up on Goodreads to read some other more positive commentary on Shadow and Bone!
My Rating: 2 shots