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Description⎮Reviewed Jan. 2017
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang
Length: 8h 55m
Publisher: Audible Studios⎮2012
4.25★ Audiobook⎮Shadow and Bone was one of those super-hyped books that was just “okay” for me. I’ve heard so much about Leigh Bardugo and the Grisha series that I was really excited about finally getting to this audiobook after having it on my TBR list for so long. Maybe it was a case of being done in by my own high expectations, but this was an underwhelming experience. Not terrible, but definitely not what I was expecting it to be.
I can’t help but wonder if I could have enjoyed this any more, had it not been for my high expectations. I had gotten over halfway finished with it, before realizing that I hadn’t processed (let alone enjoyed) more than 10% of it. So I decided to restart the entire thing and give it an honest-to-goodness shot. Why? Because the hype. I figured there had to be something I was missing.
Alas, after finishing the entire story, I can say that there wasn’t. At least, not anything of note. Again, Shadow and Bone was not terrible and I did enjoy it somewhat. Although not really enough to comment on anything specific about the story that I particularly enjoyed. Parts of it reminded me of Throne of Glass and a few other YA fantasy novels. The Russian-esque setting was the most intriguing part, but not enough to carry the rest of the story.
Overall, Shadow and Bone felt rather generic, which is ironic considering Veronica Roth’s jacket quote. Orphaned girl forms childhood bond with “boy next door” character. Girl discovers she has magical abilities. Girl undergoes training to learn how to use these abilities. Evil entity wants control over girl because of said abilities. Girl resists. Fighting ensues. Seem familiar? Probably because that’s the plot of 7 out of 10 YA novels.
I will say, however, that I do plan to continue on with the series in hope that I will be able to immerse myself in this story. But mainly because I’ve heard numerous ravings about Bardugo’s (spinoff?) series, Six of Crows. I’m still a little uncertain of the relationship between the two series, other than the fact that Six of Crows takes place in the same universe as Shadow and Bone, only two years later. I’m an absolute stickler about reading things in order (chronologically, if possible), which is why I soldiered on through Shadow and Bone.
It’s possible that Shadow and Bone will grow on me over time. There were definitely times when I almost got into it and, after the halfway point, listening didn’t seem like as much of a chore. I’m really hoping that the next installment will show me something new and make me a full-time Bardugo fan. *Fingers crossed*
Narration review: Lauren Fortgang’s narration was appropriately somber during Shadow and Bone. Part of me wants to complain that she sounded dry and bored, but anything other than that wouldn’t have fit this story. I mean, look at the cover. It’s beautiful, but it’s also sort of cold and drab. Fortgang’s characterization skills were more prominently displayed with some characters than others. Not every character was given clear vocal distinction, but she managed to make certain characters standout (i.e. Genya and the Darkling), while others were given only subtle distinction (i.e. Alina and Mal). ♣︎