Miranda Reads's Reviews > Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
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did not like it

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IT WAS A COMPLETE DISASTER.
Whelp...that was horribly disappointing...

I cannot begin to explain how utterly...blah this one was.

SO many people recommended it, and I honestly feel a bit awful with the low rating - but ehhh, what's the point of goodreads if I can't rant?

How to Write a Hit YA Novel 101

(In 5 easy steps!)

1. Make your main character ugly
“She’s an ugly little thing. No child should look like that.”
Like realllllllly ugly.
Pale and sour, like a glass of milk that’s turned.
And she must be skinny, but in the malnourished-and-kinda-hot sort of way.

AND REMEMBER
- she can never be so ugly that the Generic Love Interest(s) aren't attracted to her!
I'm sorry it took me so long to see you, Alina. But I see you now.
Your Main Character must be ugly enough so that all the little children reading your novels can relate, but not so ugly that Hollywood casts a troll to play her in the movie adaption.

2. Make her humble
“Well, I don’t want to be high above all others.”
Your Main Character has to come from the sticks, she has to have survived poverty and hardship.

We really want that sympathy coming. She's ugly, alone in the world and she sucks at everything. Make her clumsy, naive and outright stupid.

So humble that when she's given clean clothes that her eyes well up in tears. At one point, your are legally obligated to give her an Oscar-worthy gown for some made up and utterly unimportant reason.

No matter how successful your Main Character is, you MUST make sure she is ABSOLUTELY MISERABLE with her success.

Tears are acceptable, outright bawling every two pages is preferred.
“A thousand girls would sell their own mothers to be in your shoes, and yet here you are, miserable and sulking like a child. So tell me, girl. What is your sad little heart pining for?”
It's probably best to off one of her parents - scratch that - make her an orphan.

An unlovable orphan.

Perfect.

Now bring in the two hot guys. Let's make a love triangle.

3. The Love Triangle
Thanks for being my best friend and making my life bearable. Oh, and sorry I fell in love with you for a while there.
So. Now that she's an ugly, unlovable orphan, what does she need in her life? A LOVE TRIANGLE!

A few notes here:

While it is completely okay and acceptable for your Main Character to be ugly-skinny, both males MUST be strapping fine specimens of their species. Ripped and buff. No skinny-minnies allowed.

Option A (our homespun hero) has to be tall, broad shouldered, tanned and have an easy-going nature.

While Option A is allowed to pine for Main Character, the two of them must NEVER EVER mutually like each other at the same time. If they do, there will be consequences.

Option B (our tall-dark-and-handsome) has to fit the description. He may be pale, but in a luminous way (NEVER in a spends-too-much-time-behind-a-computer sort of way).

In addition, Option B MUST display at least four of the following traits: Sullen, Argumentative, Controlling, Dominating, Sexually Aggressive, Outright Abusive, and Murderous (but in a hot way).

(As you can see, we are setting sweet and stable Option A up for failure. The key is to always steer your vulnerable orphan towards the "spicier" Option B.)

NOTE: If the supernatural love interest isn't older than your Main Character by at least 100 years, it is creepy.
“I’ve been waiting for you a long time, Alina,” he said. “You and I are going to change the world.”
4. Good VS Evil

Now, remember, your audience is around 12-17 so it's best to make the plot fresh, engaging and exciting.

I'd recommend with Generic Good Vs Generic Evil.

And, to add just a pinch of spice, let's make everyone good: White and everyone evil: Black.

And, to make it even spicier (and less racist), let's go with Light Vs Shadows. Fabulous. Much more PC.

Now, where in the world would your Main Character be without a super-cool secret weapon.

Since she can directly control light, let's go with the obvious.
With a flick of the wrist, I could slide a mirror between my fingers and... I practiced bouncing flashes of light off them and into my opponent’s eyes.
Mirrored gloves - after all, you want the element of surprise, and there's no way someone beaming you in the eyes with light stronger than the sun will surprise anyone. Hence the gloves.

You may have a few "twists" and "turns" scattered about, especially when it comes to love interests:
“Why would you care what I think?”
He looked genuinely baffled. “I don’t know,” he said...And then he kissed me.
- The key is to keep the audience on the tips of their toes.

Is Option B trying to kill her? Or does he just love her so much that it hurts? (Only the fifth book of your ten-part series will begin to unravel that little secret).

5. Vaguely Inspirational Sentences

An oft overlooked and essential aspect to writing a YA novel is the inspirational factor.

Before you get too intimidated - don't worry!

None of these actually have to mean something, they just have to sound like they could mean something, maybe.

Your young and impressionable target audience won't get it either way!
He had seen a woman, barefoot and unflinching in her doorway, face down a row of bayonets. He knew the look of a man defending his home with nothing but a rock in his hand.
Female empowerment is SUPER in right now. Your humbly ugly and clumsily skinny Main Character NEEDS to be spunky, strong and a real "go-getter."

Make sure she has derisive thoughts towards being girly and waiting for a man to save her.
Put on your pretty clothes and wait for the next kiss, the next kind word. Wait for the stag. Wait for the collar. Wait to be made into a murderer and a slave.
She ain't no damsel in distress! (expect, of course, if either Option A OR Option B are inclined to save her from a cute-but-clumsy moment! Teehee! )

Don't forget to throw in the self-doubt and self-loathing! You can never let your audience forget how naive and childlike your Main Character is!

She must NEVER be happy in ANY situation. She must HATE herself and EVERYTHING she stands for!!
Maybe I would wake tomorrow and find that it had all been a dream,
But, most importantly, you MUST (and I repeat MUST) show that the Main Character is willing to kill herself over the vaguely worded Light Vs Shadow plot point.

Think of the target audience! Impressionable twelve to seventeen-year-olds love it when their heroes are willing to kill sacrifice themselves for the greater good - suicide with a purpose, that's our motto.
It was time to let go. That day on the Shadow Fold, Mal had saved my life, and I had saved his. Maybe that was meant to be the end of us.
If she's not willing to suicide over some slight, is your book even worth reading?

Concluding Remarks

Thank you so much for joining us on How to Write a Hit YA Novel 101 .

We hope your bumbling-fool-ugly-humble-orphan (but in a hot way) Main Character is ready to journey out into the wilderness - where she spends months at a time camping in the woods without ever peeing, farting or having her period in front of the hot guy.

She does not have bodily functions, she is too busy weeping unshed tears over her dead parents and/or the poverty-stricken horrors she has witnessed.

And remember - don't forget to cuddle for warmth!

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Reading Progress

December 5, 2017 – Shelved
January 23, 2019 – Started Reading
January 24, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 300 (300 new)


message 1: by phyllis;) (new)

phyllis;) Agreed


message 2: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Good honest review, I hope your next read is better! :)


Laura Literally dying over this review


Ash | EmeraldBookOwl I HATED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. Alina and Mal are awful. Alina is my Mare from Red Queen.


Misster Reader Recently read Shadow and Bone and didn't like it, but you know what? This rant review made reading it almost worth it 😂 Also, can we talk about how many times this girl sobbed over anything and everything?????


Jessi ♥️ H. Vojsk Hahahahaha I can’t 😂 your review is so awesome! I did like the book, but that was some years ago. I think I need to reread this :D I’ll probaby change my mind a bit 😅


message 7: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura Yes! This made me laugh so hard.


Constantine I enjoyed this book, but the the second and third were not good. The series as a whole is very overrated. This one was the best in the trilogy so if you didn't like this one I would not advise you to continue because it gets a lot worse from here.


Edith This review is amazing! Made me laugh quite a bit. And this book was the best of the three like Constantine one comment over me said. Maybe the other reviews will be even funnier if you decide to struggle through them. :D


Miranda Reads Phyllis Boling69 wrote: "Agreed"

Haha, thank you!


Miranda Reads Sandra wrote: "Good honest review, I hope your next read is better! :)"

Thank you!


Miranda Reads Laura wrote: "Literally dying over this review"

Don't die! There's book 2 and a spin off series to go!!


Miranda Reads Ash wrote: "I HATED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. Alina and Mal are awful. Alina is my Mare from Red Queen."

Whoa whoa whoa. No one can truly top Mare (though, Alina does give her a run for her money! )


Miranda Reads Misster wrote: "Recently read Shadow and Bone and didn't like it, but you know what? This rant review made reading it almost worth it 😂 Also, can we talk about how many times this girl sobbed over anything and eve..."

Oh my gosh. Yessssss. The sobbing and crying and bawling and sniffling - i had to wring out my book every five minutes!


Miranda Reads Jessi ♥️ H. Vojsk wrote: "Hahahahaha I can’t 😂 your review is so awesome! I did like the book, but that was some years ago. I think I need to reread this :D I’ll probaby change my mind a bit 😅"

Then DON'T read it again! Let it live as a happy little memory :p


Miranda Reads Laura wrote: "Yes! This made me laugh so hard."

Glad you liked it :)


Miranda Reads Constantine wrote: "I enjoyed this book, but the the second and third were not good. The series as a whole is very overrated. This one was the best in the trilogy so if you didn't like this one I would not advise you ..."

Oh no. No no no! I only forced my way through cause every one told me the spin off is FAR superior than the original! Shoot


Miranda Reads Edith wrote: "This review is amazing! Made me laugh quite a bit. And this book was the best of the three like Constantine one comment over me said. Maybe the other reviews will be even funnier if you decide to s..."

I've committed to this series but jeez, that's a disappointment!


message 19: by Calista (new) - added it

Calista An Amazing review.


message 20: by 《Maram》 (new) - added it

《Maram》 This should win the award for the best review ever.


TheEuphoricZat Now I don't know if I want to read it. It's just that I enjoyed the six of crows duology so much, I wonder how bad this one could be


HeartlessFaeKing 🔮 I never felt to read these really much. I'm sticking with SoC and Language of Thorns, thanks


Miranda Reads Calista wrote: "An Amazing review."

Thank you :)


Miranda Reads Maram wrote: "This should win the award for the best review ever."

LOL - that's the best compliment i ever recieved :)


Miranda Reads TheEuphoricZat wrote: "Now I don't know if I want to read it. It's just that I enjoyed the six of crows duology so much, I wonder how bad this one could be"

... read it at your own risk :p


Miranda Reads HeartlessFaeKing 🔮 wrote: "I never felt to read these really much. I'm sticking with SoC and Language of Thorns, thanks"

I'll hopefully get to that series soon enough :)


Ash | EmeraldBookOwl Miranda wrote: "Ash wrote: "I HATED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. Alina and Mal are awful. Alina is my Mare from Red Queen."

Whoa whoa whoa. No one can truly top Mare (though, Alina does give her a run for her money! )"


I read the first chapters of the next book and the self-loathing/pity were endless and then factor in her constant comments on her unattractiveness and Mal's ungodly handsomeness.... forced me to stop reading all together. I don't know if I'll pick it up. Alina pissed me off more than Mare. I never wanted to throw Mare off a cliff.... Alina on the other hand... lol


Jamie (ReadsinTrees) Dacyczyn Yeah....this trilogy was not great. I'm so glad I read "Six of Crows" and "Crooked Kingdom" first, because if I'd read THIS first, I'd have never given Bardugo another chance.


message 29: by TL (new) - rated it 3 stars

TL Haha, love this.. great review:)


message 30: by em (new)

em Love this review! ㅇㅅㅇ


Mara YA Reader Reviewer Spot on. This is brilliant. And honestly I am so ready for a change in these dull, played out YA tropes!


Miranda Reads Ash wrote: "I never wanted to throw Mare off a cliff.... Alina on the other hand..."

I think i will have to continue the series now, just to see how bad it gets!


Miranda Reads Jamie wrote: "Yeah....this trilogy was not great. I'm so glad I read "Six of Crows" and "Crooked Kingdom" first, because if I'd read THIS first, I'd have never given Bardugo another chance."

So that series is DEFINITELY better than this one?


Miranda Reads TL wrote: "Haha, love this.. great review:)"

Thank you!


Miranda Reads e wrote: "Love this review! ㅇㅅㅇ"

Thanks :)


Miranda Reads Mara YA Reader Reviewer wrote: "Spot on. This is brilliant. And honestly I am so ready for a change in these dull, played out YA tropes!"

Yes. Yes yes yes!


Edith Jamie wrote: "Yeah....this trilogy was not great. I'm so glad I read "Six of Crows" and "Crooked Kingdom" first, because if I'd read THIS first, I'd have never given Bardugo another chance."

I felt the same way! I would have never bothered reading them...


Christina Kneidel I will never understand how the same author that wrote the masterpiece thats is Six of Crows , also wrote this trash fire lol
great review!!!


Christina Kneidel Ash wrote: "Miranda wrote: "Ash wrote: "I HATED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. Alina and Mal are awful. Alina is my Mare from Red Queen."

Whoa whoa whoa. No one can truly top Mare (though, Alina does give her a run for h..."


ugh im glad im not the only one who compares this trilogy to the read queen series!!!

Mare and Alina are two peas in a pod that make me want to stab my eyes out and Mal and Cal are the most broody, boring potatoes.


message 40: by Allison (new)

Allison Venting?? That was the longest book review I've ever read! loved it!


Molly Mortensen Haha I liked this book but I thought your review was great! My biggest pet peeve (besides disliking Alena & Option A) was the magical makeover.


Jennifer I haven’t read it, but your review made me laugh! But ... where’s step 4? Am I blind, or just an idiot that I can’t find step 4? 😬


Jennifer I FOUND IT, my stupid phone screwed up the formatting 🤦🏻‍♀️


Nivs (Ilvermoreads) I love your review wow


Whitney I’m disappointed you didn’t like this (although I can admit it isn’t as strong as SoC is) but (and I’m sorry to be nit picky) they only spent 3 days camping, not months lol I get that it’s frustrating when it’s inaccurate, but the bodily functions aren’t necessary to the plot. The only book I’ve read that focused on that was Throne of Glass, which had other issues.


Miranda Reads Christina wrote: "I will never understand how the same author that wrote the masterpiece thats is
Six of Crows
, also wrote this trash fire lol
great review!!!"


Ok. I will continue the series with my fingers crossed


message 47: by Kashaf (new)

Kashaf Imran Love your review. Couldnt help smiling along. Its amazing the way you had an entirely different yet light approach as you wrote this review!!


Diabolica Funniest review I've ever read for this book, if not of all those I've read.


Jamie (ReadsinTrees) Dacyczyn Miranda wrote: "Jamie wrote: "Yeah....this trilogy was not great. I'm so glad I read "Six of Crows" and "Crooked Kingdom" first, because if I'd read THIS first, I'd have never given Bardugo another chance."

So th..."


Yes, the SoC/CK duology is much better. I did eventually go back and read the trilogy, and I'm glad I did because there was a lot of background stuff that make SoK/CK that much more enjoyable on my re-read.


Miranda Reads Christina wrote: Mare and Alina are two peas in a pod that make me want to stab my eyes out and Mal and Cal are the most broody, boring potatoes"..."

Yes. They are the potatoes of the YA world :p :p


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