A Light in the Darkness: A Review of Shadow and Bone

As my reading frenzy continues, I devoured yet another novel: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardvgo.

Final thoughts: Great story, weak ending.

I had the same problem with A Court of Thorns and Roses, I know there are second novels to come and unanswered questions but it ends in too much of a happy ending. Granted, you can’t really call the end of Shadow and Bone happy, but our main character prevailed and there is no immediate danger. I know this is just a personal preference, but at the end of the first novel there should be more problems than resolutions and more questions than answers. I have a very bittersweet relationship with cliffhanger endings, but I find I’m usually disappointed when they aren’t there.

Bradvgo does a good job of skirting that line between good and evil, but I wish the Darkling had a bit more of a human edge. I understand that it’s important to the story that he doesn’t and that the character itself has developed to be less humanly, but I think it would have been harder to dislike him, which would have made the read all the more thrilling.

My favourite character has to be Mal. No, not just because he has the same name as one of my all time favourite space captains, but he is the unwavering tree that you take shelter under during the storm. He seems like a real guy to me, which I don’t find very often in novels, as usually I find male characters the embodiment of what women expect, which is not even close to what they are. Mal, actually falters with his feelings, he’s slow to realize them and quick to act on his impulses. He’s actually a dude! He even develops like I expect a boy would in a circumstance like his. It’s safe to say I like Mal more than I like Alina.

I did really enjoy reading this novel. While, I didn’t order the next two novels just yet, you can rest accused that they are definitely on my to-buy list. If my other half has to keep his gaming purchases in check, it’s only fair I do the same with my book-buying obsession. But I digress…

Bardvgo has a great handle on character development and I find myself eager to find out how Alina develops further. Her handle on the psychological edge that Alina teetered along the whole book was spectacular. I do love it when main characters are damaged and have a fragile human core just like the rest of us…

(Cat interruptions – U////////////…..)
I love my furry baby, but she can’t keep her paws off my keyboard!

Excuse the interruption, I will now valiantly press on with the looming siege of kitty paw’s close at hand.

As I was saying, we all love when protagonists seem so bitterly human that we can relate, I mean that’s why we read don’t we? As Alina we want to feel less alone, no matter the amount of loneliness that holds it’s place within us.

This has evolved into more of review of the reader than the novel. Oops.

Anyhow, I do indeed recommend Shadow and Bone. It’s a good quick read. I look forward to seeing Alina’s progression, as well as Bardvgo’s.


What Lies In My Darkness

I’ve had a very clouded mind recently. I’m not quite sure why. I’ve been trying to write and my character interactions feel forced and false. I’ve even had a moment where I’ve asked myself “Do I even know how normal people interact?”

Needless to say, I’m not a normal person. Of course, “normal” is a relative term and we can argue the implications of “normal” for hours. But, I’m using it here as a term for what is deemed as the acceptable behaviour and the typical way in which humans interact with one another in a westernized, modern culture. I treat everyone with the same amount of respect until they prove otherwise via their behaviour, I talk to strangers as if I’ve known them a while, I say weird things, I rant to most anyone when I feel the need, I make odd noises such as quacks, clicks, or honks when I’m feeling silly or absent minded, the majority of my jokes are either immature, self-depricating, or puns, I like so many things and will get excited because of these things, I cannot abide rude or grammatically incorrect people, I cannot handle shorthand text messages, I put others happiness above my own, I would rather deal with physical pain than an argument I feel is pointless to have, and I will not call someone out on a job poorly done but will just go an fix it without a word.

Despite some of these lovely positives I have, there is a darkness in me, one that has been tagging at my consciousness the last week or so. It’s always been there as far as I can remember, but of late it’s been more apparent. This could be because this past week I’ve been house-sitting so I’ve been completely alone besides the company of a cat. I haven’t lived alone for several months now and I find that having to be considerate of others in every accept of living takes a toll on me, enough so that I forget to just have my contemplative moments. I use my spare time to decompress so that I can handle other human beings for another day.

But I’ve had a lot of time to think here. I’m not consciously trying to address the darkness, oh no. Like most people I hunker those little bits of unwanted personality down deep underneath the good things. I have been thinking about my life, my accomplishments, my tasks, my trials, my dreams and hope, etc. The little bits of darkness slowly ease into these thoughts like an ink drop in a glass of water. But, when I’m aware of it, I ignore it and move on to the next thought.

The problem is when I’m not aware or in control. I’ve been plagued with nightmare after nightmare with real monsters. Now, I love monster movies and silly vampire movies and so on. These things have never really frightened me, but in my nightmares these snivelling, snarling beast are heart-wrenchingly terrifying. I wake in a panic because I’m afraid that they’ve caught me, that they’ve taken me into their thick, dripping, claws and will never let me go. That no matter how many bags I pack and how many flights or trains I catch I can’t run away.

Now, I’m aware that my monsters are really my inner demons manifesting in my subconscious as something I fear.

You may be wondering, dear Reader, why I’m sharing these intimate things with you. Well, I think that some of you deal with your own monsters and your own darkness. I think that we all feel desperate and alone when our demons wreak havoc with our minds and hearts. I also think that we forget to let others know when we struggle. Dear Reader, I’m hear telling you that life is not all rainbows and unicorns for everyone but you. We’ve all got stuff.  I thought maybe, just maybe some of you needed to hear that someone else has a monster too, that behind the veil of happy-go-lucky attitudes something lingers that isn’t as cheerful.

Our nightmares force us to find our strength. Keep reading dear Reader and keep those demons at bay.


I’ve done it again.

I’ve started ANOTHER novel idea. I haven’t even hit half-way in my first novel which I’ve been working on sporadically for over 5 years!

Muses, why must you overcome me with a million different ideas? Is it too much to ask you ladies to just give me enough motivation and inspiration in regards to the first, unfinished project? It would appear that the Muses are just as unpredictable as most women. Although, I’m sure to them their actions make perfect sense.

Today, I started something. Something much darker than I thought was in me. I didn’t realize how this would come out, I thought I would turn it around at the last moment, end up making a joke of it. It came out too dark to be any joke. This heroine’s strength is unique, nothing that I’ve encountered in any of my others.  She’s not someone I could ever relate to on any deep level, and yet I want to see her survive, I want to see her fight, I want to see her win. She has more strength than I ever would in her situation. Where did she come from?

I surprised myself today, I don’t ever remember such a shadow in my writing, such a linger gloom. I don’t know where it was going or where it will end in the future, all I know is I want to see this nameless girl survive, I want to see her live. I want to give her the chance anyways.