Thoughts: The Darkling from Shadow and Bone


I absolutely loved this book. I read it in two days. I was completely sucked in. At one point, my boyfriend cleaned our entire apartment and I didn’t even notice he was doing it. Or else I would have helped him, of course… Immediately after finishing it, I ordered the rest of the series. Now, with the exception of books that I love because the writing is just astounding, basically all of the books that I adore suck me in because of some idea I get based around a specific character/relationship/conspiracy/you-name-it, and I just have to find out if what I want to happen will happen, so I read like a demon and bark at people who interrupt me until I figure out if I win. Just kidding I don’t actually bark. Demons don’t bark, as far as I know.

**WARNING: this is not even remotely spoiler-free. In fact, it’s riddled with spoilers. So if you haven’t read Shadow and Bone yet, go read it then come back. Go go go!**

Shadow and Bone was no exception, and this time, my obsession was over The Darkling. I have to hand it to Bardugo, she knows how to write an intriguing villain. Since I’m pretty sure my perfect ending to this series has already been blasted to smithereens, I’m going to go ahead and prematurely tell you all of the reasons that I am on the Darkling’s side, and why Alina is a dumb dumb.

This isn’t technically a review, but for the record:
Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Published: Henry Holt and Company, 2012
Rating: 5/5

1. “Like calls to like

This is the cornerstone of the Small Science of the Grisha. It’s obviously important. The Darkling and the Sun Summoner are MEANT TO BE. They cancel each other out. They are equally powerful. They are the only people who are going to live for centuries. I don’t know why I’m writing such short sentences. But seriously, Alina is the only person who can compete with the Darkling’s power, and their souls call to one another. At least, I think they do, because I would very much appreciate the poetic coming-together of light and darkness. Even though she resists it because she decides he’s just plain evil, Bardugo wrote their feelings towards one another to be passionate. In my perfect world, she would have stayed with him and helped him overcome the darkness. Because how did that darkness come about? Becaaaaause…

2. Wars suck. Especially everlasting ones.

This guy has been alive for over 120 years and his entire life there has been war and stupid kings who waste the country’s money on decadent parties and palaces so the army can’t even afford proper equipment. How frustrating would that be?! When it comes down to it, all he was trying to do was end the war. Sure, he’s gotten a little evil in the process, but really, that evil is a result of desperation. He wants peace. The representatives from the other countries were all like “ok, you win”, and then Alina RUINED it. Grrrr. For the record, yes I’m aware he killed a bunch of his own people to do it. Not cool. But desperation makes people do crazy things. And overall, more people would have died from the continuation of the never-ending war. So I’m not saying it was okay, but maybe it was necessary.

3. Mal means “bad” in French

I know that’s not his whole name. But still. I didn’t like Mal at all. I was disappointed in Alina for going back to him as soon as he was like “oh, I’m sorry I didn’t notice you liked me our entire lives until you weren’t there for me to use whenever I felt like it, but I totally love you now”. COME ON GIRL. I know it would be hard to resist the one thing you’d been wishing for for so long, but if she actually thought about how much had changed, and how he could never possibly understand her… it just wouldn’t work out in real life. And I’m tired of this scenario teaching girls that they should wait around for the jerk who didn’t notice them until they became something.

4. Alina is just another impulsive heroine

Okay, let’s think this out. If Alina hadn’t chosen to be the Darkling’s enemy and betrayed him, he wouldn’t have tried to make her his slave. His hatred towards Mal is because Mal is stealing the one light in his freakishly long life (haha, cause she channels light, get it?) and probably from experience, the Darkling knows Mal can never understand her like he does. She’s everything he’s been waiting for, and because he found her too late, she can’t think logically about the situation and decides to take Mal’s offer of love instead of his, even though it doesn’t make sense for her to. And finally, although his means were not at all admirable, he ended the war!!! HE ENDED IT!!! And she ruined it. She tried to kill him and made him her official enemy, and now I’m betting a lot more of the country is going to be destroyed and it’s her fault. I feel like this is a pretty common themes with heroines lately. They all act on impulse and don’t think about the consequences of their actions. Where are my Hermione Granger/Annabeth Chases? I want more of them, and less of these frustrating women.

5. Because…. just because.

For the rest of the trilogy:

I am hoping for some serious Alina character development. I’m also excited to get more on the Darkling’s back-story. Maybe I’ll decide he’s officially evil as I continue reading, but knowing me, I doubt it. I also hope to get some more info into the Small Science, it was pretty vague on what exactly the Grisha’s powers were.

P.S. This is going to be made into a movie! I’m very excited for that as well.

I’ll write again soon. Until then, keep reading!

J. Bookish

Talk to me. What did you think? Don’t spoil the rest of the series!!!


6 thoughts on “Thoughts: The Darkling from Shadow and Bone

  1. aentee @ read at midnight says:

    Ahh I was so disappointed that The Darkling and his motivations were not fleshed out in this book. I found Mal and Alina so dull. I have yet to work up the enthusiasm to finish the rest of the series.


    • J. Bookish says:

      Me too! The Darkling was such a well-written character I want to know more! I’m going to continue because I really like the author and I’m hoping she makes Alina a stronger character in the next book, I’ve heard that she does. Fingers crossed


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