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.


Slow Moments

IMG_0152Today I blew off my one class, which I admittedly do too often. But today I actually used it, I went outside. I know that sounds a bit silly as if I’m a hermit who never leaves her suite, but  I rarely go outside to be outside. I’m usually off to work or class or some other indoor place and outside is just what I move through to get there. The sun is out and the sky is bright with the rare cloud, and for the west coast clouds are always overhead.

There’s a park just behind the house. It’s a very modest park, there are some trees, a winding concrete path, a few hills, a baseball diamond, and a section reserved as a dog park. It’s small but today it was perfect. IMG_0161I sat atop the smallest of hills with the sun on my face a the pale blue sky blanketing my horizon. I listened to spring come alive around me. Birds that had been silent all winter warmed their voices and began to sing. I watched them dance along the tree branches and float on the breeze. The plants were just waking up, taking their first breaths of sunlight, inhaling deeply.

I laid down in the grass next to a yawning tree that hadn’t quite awoken from it’s winter’s slumber. I laid there, on the top of the world which was on the smallest of hills. IMG_0142The sun warmed my body gently with her smile. The ground was soft with grass and moss, but still full of life. Ants hustled around me frantically working. They didn’t mind me much, just made their way around me. The wind was breathing in and out, picking up then letting up, brushing the hair from my face with a caring stroke. I wanted to stay in that moment. It was perfectly slow and calm and I felt like the whole universe could pass me by because just then all this was the whole universe.

I knew, in the back of my mind, as the whole universe just lay calm in front of me, that I would eventually have to stand, put one foot in front of the other and walk myself home. I would have to once again take up my adult life and continue on with it. But not right then, not yet. I needed to stay, to breath in the air and the calm. I needed to remember that life is not responsibility and procrastination. Life is the slow moments, the deep moments, the great moments. Try not to forget so often. IMG_0174