Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Shadow and Bone Read-Along: Fourth & Final Week Discussion Questions

Welcome to the fourth and final
week of the  
Shadow and Bone Read-Along,
hosted by
Maria @ A Night's Dream of Books!

Shadow and Bone
(The Grisha #1)
Hardcover, 368 pages
Henry Holt & Co.
June 5, 2012
Fantasy, Paranormal Romance,
Young Adult Fiction

Purchase Links

Amazon US (Print)
Amazon US (Kindle)
(includes a link for the Nook edition)

Fourth Week Discussion Questions
Chapter 18 - "After"
A Night's Dream of Books

1.)   Alina asks Mal to do something for her, something which he flatly refuses to even consider.  What is it?  Why did Alina make this request?

She asks him to kill her.  He's understandably shocked, and tells her he can't do such a thing.  The reason for her request is her fear that she will be compelled by the Darkling to help carry out his terrible plan, which will mean the deaths of many.  It will also involve great destruction. 

2.)   What were your thoughts and feelings when Alina had her beautiful, magical encounter with the stag?

I felt that I was Alina at that moment....I stood there, looking into the stag's eyes, into his soul.  It was a beautiful, eternal moment.   Animals are so noble, so free -- even if they're 'tamed' -- and so very wise, as well.  I loved that the stag didn't run from Alina, but stood there, very still, as she gently ran her hand over his muzzle.  Then he and Alina looked into each other's eyes.  It's so wonderful, so magical, when a wild animal, innocent in its wildness, allows a human to approach that close.  There was an instant bond between Alina and the stag.  They were kindred spirits, and so, she could not do what she was supposed to do -- kill him.  The stag mirrored Alina's own magnificent power.

3.)   How did you feel about the Darkling when he took what Alina would not -- the stag's life? 

If there were any doubts in my mind about him before this -- and there were -- this very sad, horrible event totally convinced me that the Darkling was utterly evil.  When he coldly killed the stag, I felt a surge of hatred toward him.  For him to kill such a beautiful, noble animal, just to take the antlers and thus ensure the expansion of his own magical power -- this, to me, was an unpardonable act.  It was also completely disgusting. 

I think this event is also the author's way of strongly protesting the sport of hunting.  I am in complete agreement with her.  It is indeed horrible to kill a magnificent animal for the mere purpose of displaying its stuffed head (whether it has horns, antlers, or is simply a head) on a wall.  This is purely a display of macho egotism, and those who engage in such a 'sport' don't know -- and probably don't want to know -- what a terrible thing it is. 

From this point on, I felt absolutely no attraction to the Darkling.
4.)  Why is it the Darkling, and not Alina, who initially controls the amplifying power of the stag's antlers?

Because, according to the legend about the stag, whoever killed it would be the one able to control the amplifying power of the antlers. 

5.)  What, according to the Darkling, would have happened if word of Alina's flight from the Little Palace had spread?

She would probably have been killed by a Fjerdan assassin.  Ravka's enemies did not want the Sun Summoner to be an ally of the Darkling.  They feared the combined power of the two of them, and rightly so. 

6.)   What role do you think Genya might have played (if any) in the King's sudden illness?

I'm not sure that she did play a role in his illness.  However, since she has the talent of improving a person's appearance through the magic in her hands, perhaps the Darkling persuaded her to use her power to alter the King's appearance to the extreme that he actually fell into a deep depression.  Or perhaps she really made him physically ill. 

Alina noticed the fact that Genya was no longer a servant to the Queen, who, like the King, had been confined to her quarters.  In fact, Genya was now wearing a red kefia, which meant she was considered one of the Corporalnik, and not a servant.  Alina suspected this might have been the Darkling's reward for Genya's help in successfully making the King incapable of ruling (not that this was such a difficult thing to do, since the Darkling was the power behind the throne anyway).

7.)   Do you think there will be an eventual power struggle between the Darkling and the Apparat?  Why or why not?

As I went into the book's final chapters, I really didn't get the impression that such a thing would happen in this first book.  I could, however, see it happening in the second book, or perhaps the third.  The Apparat, although probably not a Grisha, has some power of his own -- the power to influence and manipulate whoever he wishes.  His mind, I think, is very powerful.  Like the historical figure he was modeled on -- Rasputin -- he has the power to make people do things they would normally not do, or even think of doing.  This is a very subtle, sinister power that disguises itself as apparent concern for a person's welfare, or success in life.  In fact, the very name of this character indicates that he is not what he seems to be -- at all!  His strange name, "Apparat,  contains the first letters of the word "apparent".  This is not a coincidence, but a metaphorical message from the author.  So this strange, disturbing person will most likely attempt to bend the Darkling to his own will, through very subtle ways.  This will probably happen either in the second book, or the third.

8.)   How did Alina come to realize that she could take control of the amplifier away from the Darkling? 

She had spared the stag's life.  Suddenly, she realized that, through the quality of mercy -- something totally alien to the Darkling -- the power of the stag's life belonged to her just as much as it did to the man who had taken the stag's life.  However, that power was stronger in her, I believe, because mercy is much stronger than cruelty.    

9.)   What does the Darkling intend to do with Mal once he (the Darkling) and his soldiers reach the Fold?

He intends to throw Mal to the volcra, to be devoured by them.  This despite the fact that he had promised Alina he would be merciful, and preserve Mal's life.  At this point in the novel, there's now plenty of evidence that the Darkling is indeed the villain, so this was just further proof of that. 

10.)  Without giving too much away, what did you think of the ending (including the "After" section)?  Were you surprised?

The ending was totally electrifying!!  It would definitely make an awesome movie!!  Yes, it did surprise me; I had no idea there could be hope in such an obviously hopeless situation.  Alina finally takes her power fully into her own hands, and the results are mind-blowing!  Although there were some unfortunate consequences, she didn't have much choice. 

The "After" section brings Alina and Mal full circle.  They are orphans again, although now it's in a different way.  Once more they are together, and must rely on each other in order to stand against whatever the Darkling might throw their way....  I thought that this was a great for the author to show her readers that Alina and Mal do indeed belong together!

This was really an incredibly good novel, and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel, Siege and Storm, as soon as I'm able to! 

Be sure to visit Vonnie to see
how she answered! 
We hope you have enjoyed
following our progress through this exciting, fascinating book,
which Vonnie and I will be reviewing within the next few days.
Stay tuned!! 


  1. Very interesting commentary throughout the entire series of posts on this book. It really sounds very different and very out of the box. That is not too common these days in the fantasy genre. I think that if I were to begin a new fantasy book it might be this one.

    1. Hey, Brian!

      Thank you so much for complimenting my commentary on this book! Much appreciated!!

      I have really fallen in love with this series, and can't wait to read the second novel, "Siege and Storm". The world created by this author is very original, end entirely fascinating! I've never read a fantasy novel based on 19th-century Russia, so I found this book to be enthralling, since I am totally intrigued by that period of Russian history,

      I'm sure you'd love reading this book, even though you don't usually read young adult fiction. But you know, YA fiction does indeed deal with mature themes. What I like about it is that it contains little to no profanity, and NO overly graphic sex scenes. I don't think a novel needs to include these things in order to be entertaining.

      So I definitely recommend this book -- in fact, the entire series -- to you!!


THIS IS NOW AN AWARD-FREE, AND TAG-FREE BLOG. Thanks for the compliment, though! : )

As of today, 9/23/18, I have permanently enabled comment moderation, due to a sudden rash of SPAM comments. I appreciate your patience!

Thanks for your thoughts on my posts! I always reply here, as well as comment back on your blog. Have a WONDERFUL day!! :)