Here’s an admission of complete honesty, dear readers. For a few weeks, I’ve been panicking. My book review list has been dwindling and I haven’t discovered any interesting new books to read. I’ve been tirelessly combing the Amazon “recommended lists” of books I’ve already read to see if anything interesting would show up. While there were plenty of interesting titles (all released at a future date), very few currently released titles caught my eye.
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo didn’t necessarily “catch” my interest. I clicked on the title because I was desperate for anything and a reader should never judge a book by its cover. Unfortunately, I’ve been guilty of cover judgement numerous times. When I read the summary, I was a little doubtful. This particular genera I snatch up like a greedy kid and attempt to not spend every waking moment reading till the end. If I didn’t have to eat and keep a roof over my head, I wouldn’t have a job getting in the way of my pleasure reading.
I can’t tell you why the cover and summary that didn’t spark some covetous interest. Fortunately, I happened to spend some of my working hours in the school library and I remembered Shadow and Bone was on a state prefered reading list for teens. (Yes, there are states that give awards to books especially when that book is the favored of its teenaged citizens). If the state nominated the book for the list, there’s a good chance that it’s enjoyable, which encouraged me to give it a shot.
Usually, I buy the whole series if it’s all been published since I hate to wait. Yet, I held off and just bought the first book in the trilogy. Then I bought the rest after the obligatory three chapter read. If I don’t fall asleep or want to throw it out the window after three chapters, I’ll end up reading the entire book.
I’ll review it a little differently than I do most complete series since I will review each book separately. Given the thickness of each book, reviewing the entire series in one go, would make for a VERY long post.
Since I’m all caught up on my list of books, each book review post will showcase one book unless there are special circumstances.
This book is a thrilling mystery with a touch of fantasy. Generally, it’s not my cup of tea since I like fantasy to dominate the books I read. Yet, I did what readers should never do: I judged the book by its cover. Isn’t it hypnotizing?
The book follows Imogen Rockford as she travels from her home in New York to the family estate in England for Summer vacation. Every year she looks forward to visiting that magical place with its interesting history, gorgeous gardens, and a handsome next door neighbor named Sebastian. (Who wouldn’t want to visit? I’d never want to leave!)
This summer would be different for Imogen. She loses Sebastian to her beloved cousin whose heir to the family title and estate. Even though Imogen’s cousin was aware of her feelings for Sebastian, she still stole the guy from under Imogen with the excuse that they’re, “A few years older” and “Imogen wouldn’t understand dating anyway.” (For the love of the Creator, they’re only two years apart in age). The excuse was paltry at best, which makes the cousin’s actions particularly sleazy.
That’s not the only hurtful thing she does to Imogen. After a fire that took the lives of their parents, the cousin attempts to use her newly acquired title to order Imogen to stay in England. Understandably, after the loss of her parents and the sting of seeing her crush on the arm of her perfect heiress cousin, Imogen is ready to go back to New York. Her parents’ will stipulates their very close neighbors (like family) get custody of Imogen.
She never plans to return to the family home. What reason would she have since her cousin is next in line for the Dukedom and the place holds extraordinarily nightmarish memories?
Imogen successfully avoids anything to do with the family estate for seven years until she unwittingly discovers the death of her grandfather, cousin, and she’s *surprise* a Duchess. Going back to the estate is difficult for Imogen. It took a few years for her to overcome the nightmares brought on by the horror’s that changed her life as a child. What’s worse is the grief Sebastian goes through over the death of his purportedly true love.
Imogen was an okay character. She started out as a girl who liked to runaway from her problems instead of face them, but life is tricky. The character would have been better if she volunteered to face her problems. With the death of her family members and the fate of a whole town riding on her decision, circumstance forced Imogen to face the problems she left. This experience did shape the character into a better person, but it was the whole “forced” part that kept her from being a stellar character.
Furthermore, she had a hard time seeing Sebastian in the act of dating her cousin and she had the opportunity to say something to her cousin. At one point, the cousin asked Imogen if it was fine that she was dating Sebastian. Not that the cousin would stop dating him if Imogen had said something, but the opportunity to voice an objection was there. Imogen obviously lacks gumption, which she never gains throughout the book.
Sebastian was an average man with an above average attitude when it came to women. He’s not a big talker about his feelings and needs to learn to better communicate with a trusted friend like Imogen (or in his case, a love interest). Plus, he tends to irrationally lash out emotionally before thinking. His saving grace was his complete acceptance of Imogen as a kid and as a young adult. That’s about the only impressive thing. Otherwise, he felt more like an ornament than a character.
Without the mystery aspect of the book, I wouldn’t have continued reading past the obligatory three chapters I give every book. Imogen and Sebastian were lackluster, the cousin was a paranoid crazy person. All characters were on the verge of being two dimensional.
I think this is my first shoulder shrug book. If there’s nothing else to read and you want to kill some time, borrow this from the library or get the e-book version when it’s on a $1 sale.
Future Book Reviews
***Will not be reviewed in this order.
- Untamed: A Splintered Companion by A. G. Howard
- Insanity (Mad in Wonderland) by Cameron Jace
- The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
- Shadow and Bone
- Seige and Storm
- Ruin and Rising