Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Shadow and Bone Read-Along: Week 3 Discussion Questions

Welcome to the third 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)

Third Week Discussion Questions
Chapters 13 - 17
Vonnie's Reading Corner

1.)   How does Alina change once she lets go of the past and accepts her power?

She becomes a stronger person.  Her insecurities begin to disappear as she discovers that she can call her power by herself.  She also discovers who the Darkling really is, and knows that she must fight to stop him from implementing his evil plan.  He can no longer charm or manipulate her.  I wanted to cheer when I saw all this happening!  Her physical appearance also changes; she no longer looks like a little orphan girl, but a young, confident woman,

2.)   Baghra and the Darkling showed an interesting relationship before the reveal.  Did you guess that they were mother and son? Explain.

I had no idea that they were related, so it was quite a surprise to me when the author revealed this!  However, I didn't like the way the Darkling addressed Baghra at one point in the story; it was very disrespectful.  They obviously don't have a close relationship.  From the hints thrown out by the author, it appears they never have.

3.)   What are your thoughts on Alina's and the Darkling's first kiss?  How about the one at the ball? 

When they first kissed, it was very brief, and very innocent.  The Darkling was just as surprised as Alina was.  He seemed somewhat embarrassed at having taken advantage of the situation, and did not pursue it further.  In fact, he seemed to be fighting his apparent shyness.  But the attraction between them was very real, and I was disappointed that they didn't spend more time kissing!  By this point, I was feeling quite an attraction to the Darkling.... 

The second time they kissed, at the ball, I was so thrilled!  My attraction to the Darkling increased.  Although he obviously desired Alina, he was very gentle with her, and did not force her into anything, but he did want to pursue things further this time.  I could feel his sensual power over her, too, and I put myself in her place....  I was sure that they were headed toward a wonderful relationship, even if things got a little too heated as soon as they did.  Still, it was definitely exciting!

Romantic emotions aside, I think that Alina was right to hesitate when the Darkling asked if he could go to her room that night.  When things seem "too good to be true", they usually are.  When a man seems to be totally into a woman, it can mean that he wants to get her so emotionally involved that she won't stop to think about the consequences.  Then he can use her emotions against her, manipulating her any way he wants.  It was great that some people coming down the hall also interrupted the little interlude!
4.)  Genya is beautiful and lively.  Why do you think she is attracted to David the Fabrikator?

I think that, on the surface, it's simply a matter of "opposites attract".  He's a nice complement to her outgoing character; he has a solid stabilizing influence on her. 

Going deeper, though, I think she sees something in him that no one else does.  Genya is not typical of most beautiful women; she's not a shallow person at all because, unlike them, she has really suffered.  So she's able to appreciate David's brilliance, and knows that, along with that brilliance, he has a gentle soul. 

5.)  Alina waits a long time for her kefia to arrive.  When it does, it is black instead of blue and has a charm representing the Darkling.  What does this mean?

It means that he has set her apart, that she's personally allied to him as no other Grisha is.  Black is the Darkling's color.  The charm is his symbol -- the sun in eclipse.   This symbol is very appropriate to the story, because he summons darkness, while Alina summons light.  So this symbol represents, in my opinion, the alliance of the two of them, their powers complementing and perfectly balancing each other.

6.)   What is the Apparat's fascination with Alina?

I'm not quite sure.  He's such a creepy character....perhaps he has some really perverted attraction to her.  On the other hand, perhaps, like the Darkling, he simply wants to use her power for his own ends.  And who knows -- maybe it's a combination of the two!  (Shudder!) 

7.)   Why did Mal react so coldly to Alina when seeing her again?

Throughout most of the book, the reader, along with Alina, is led to believe that Mal thinks of her only as a friend, a sister.  It turns out that he has always loved her, but didn't quite know how to tell her, because he really wasn't aware of it himself -- until he ran into her at the palace, dressed in the black kefia, wearing the Darkling's charm.  (This is a typical "guy problem".)  He suddenly felt intense jealousy.  He was under the mistaken impression that Alina was having a romantic relationship with the Darkling, whom Mal already distrusted and disliked.   

8.)   Baghra helps Alina to escape the Little Palace.  Why would she help Alina and betray her son? 

I believe it's because she feels guilty, as well as responsible, for not being able to control her son's overwhelming lust for political power.  After all, she trained him in the use of his Grisha powers, thus helping him to become as formidable as he currently is.  She wants Alina to help restrain her son's greed and ambition.  She wants Alina to prevent him from carrying out his nefarious plan, to do what she, Baghra, failed to do, perhaps because she's the Darkling's mother.  It would be too difficult, I think, as well as horrible, for her to attempt to stop her own son, because of the possibility that she might kill him herself.

9.)   Who is the Black Heretic?

At the beginning of the book, the Darkling told Alina that it was his great-great-great-grandfather, the creator of the Fold.  This is a lie.  The Black Heretic is the Darkling himself.  He has lived for hundreds of years.  It was he who created the Fold.

10.)  The volcra were consequences of the Fold.  How were they created?  What do they symbolize?

The immense power of the Fold turned human men, women, and children into these horrible, flesh-eating monsters.  They are the Darkling's punishment, a constant, living reminder of his arrogance.  To me, they symbolize the raging, uncontrolled lust for power, laying waste to every obstacle in its path. 

11.)  In Chapter 16, Alina has a dream about Baghra having a knife at Alina's throat and laughing.  What can this mean?  Is Baghra really trustworthy?

I think this is just a little twist thrown into the story by the author, to intentionally mislead readers into thinking that Baghra is not to be trusted.  This is the type of thing done by mystery writers.  They mislead readers on purpose, then, later on in the story, take them along another,  very surprising path.  Bardugo is using this trick very effectively in this passage!

12.)  Though he is not Grisha, what is Mal's power?  How does he help Alina?

Mal is a gifted tracker.  He has an uncanny ability to know just where and when to find his quarry -- whatever, or whoever, it might be.  I think it's a special instinct he possesses, and I would put it on a par with Grisha powers. 

He helps Alina to find Morozova's herd.  Later on, when they escape the clutches of the Darkling, he helps her to travel in the right direction, as they move toward the west, away from Ravka, and toward the sea. 

Be sure to visit Vonnie to see
how she answered! 
Next week, it'll be my turn
to ask the final questions!
Stay tuned!! 


  1. I like how similar our answers are to these questions.

    Even though all of this is happening, I'm still very hopeful for the Darkling. I want him to be the good guy. Maybe it's the fact that I'm not too in love with Mal, or perhaps I have my doubts about Baghra, but I want Alina to somehow end up with the Darkling. I don't know, I can't seem to dislike him yet.

    1. Hi, Vonnie!

      Yeah, Mal is kind of a bit on the 'blah' side. But you'll see -- just keep going! You'll find out what a really good guy he is!!

      I, too, would have loved for Alina to end up with the Darkling. It makes sense; after all, they're both Grisha. But sometimes you don't end up with someone from your very same background as a romantic partner. Sometimes it's someone who is not totally like you. It could even be someone who is not at all like you! Or it could be someone who has shared some experiences with you in the past (Alina and Mal are both orphans, and grew up together), yet is different from you in a major way. So you never know....

      Guys are very different from us girls where feelings are concerned. They have SO much trouble showing their tender, loving ones! I don't's like they think it's 'unmanly' or something. Mal probably has that problem. It's like, when a guy REALLY cares about a girl, he gets scared at the very depth of his feelings forher. He starts thinking that this very special girl he loves so much has WAY too much control over his emotions. So he doesn't tell her how he feels about her. Isn't this weird? Well, that's guys for you! But we love them anyway!! Lol.

      Thanks for commenting!! : )


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