Shadow and Bone, Chapter 6: Extreme Magical Makeover

Last time on Shadow and Bone, the Darkling gave a minor infodump, and Alina received pimped-out quarters at the Grisha HQ. What other awesome stuff will our Protagonist get? Find out after the cut.

The Next Day…

Alina wakes from a nightmare (Oh noes I can’t find Mal — OH SHIT VOLCRA) only to be confronted by Genya, the Grisha responsible for giving our Protagonist an Epic Makeover so she can be presented to the king. Genya is a Tailor, meaning that she has the power to make herself and others fabulous. Which in this case means healing bruises, evening out skin tone, staining lips, and putting highlights in hair. If there was a Beautician sorcerer class in an RPG, Genya would be the poster child for it.

Anyway, Alina has the Best Bath Ever, gets a quick Magical Makeover from Genya (with some convincing — Genya has to explain that the king values beauty and Alina needs to look like not!Russia’s Last Best Hope Against the Shadow Fold), and receives a clean army cartographer’s uniform. Alina is disappointed in her new attire, but it was selected so she appears to be a lowly soldier with a hidden Super Special Magical Power.

After all the primping and pampering, Alina and Genya assemble with the other Grisha. The Corporalki and Etherealki immediately start fighting over which division Alina gets to join for the royal audience, but it’s immediately broken up when a certain deep-voiced someone orders Alina to walk with him….


Stuff I Forgot to Mention Above:

Okay, we’re only six chapters through the book, and I’m already sick of Alina’s obsession with Mal. I get it, you were BFFs at the orphanage and through army training. But Mal’s a tracker with a squad of his own. I’m sure he’s fine.

Genya doesn’t give Alina a full makeover because she doesn’t want Alina to fully capture the king’s attention. You’ll see why when I recap Genya’s short story.

In case you’re wondering: the Grisha don’t ask Genya to use her Beautician Mage powers on them. She’s only supposed to work with the queen.

I imagine Sergei (the Corporalki who wants Alina to march with his division) looking like Sergei Bobrovsky with a spray tan. Yes, I’m going to keep attempting to cast Russian hockey players (mostly goalies) as characters in this series. Gotta keep this theme going.

For my American readers: Happy (early) Thanksgiving! I’m obviously not posting a recap on Friday because a) Turkey Coma, and b) gonna be at a hockey game. Wow, that’s not a good combo. But the Sharks are giving away Joe Pavelski action figures, and I want one, dammit.

Names in Russian:

  • Genya — Женя (Zhenya)
  • Marie — Мари (Mari)
  • Sergei Beznikov — Сергей Безников
  • Tailor — Портной (Portnoy)

Translation Notes:

Evgeni / Evgenia is one of those tricky Russian names to transliterate. Its spelling depends on which transliteration standard you choose. For a good example of this, check out the Wikipedia entry for Kazakh-Russian goalie Evgeni Nabokov — the first sentence illustrates exactly what I’m getting at.

(Nabokov’s name should be familiar to anyone who’s been on my tumblr. For those who haven’t: I may have a little Goalie Crush on him. Which explains why I linked to one of his more absurd interviews in my recap of Trial by Fire. Fun fact: I met him once and got him to sign one of my hockey sweaters. Good times.)

The diminutive form of Evgeni / Evgenia is Zhenya, which I’ve never seen spelled correctly in any English book involving Russians. I’ve seen it spelled Shenya or Zenya, because I guess authors think English speakers can’t figure out how to pronounce the zh.

Normally, this is where I rant about how horrible it is to transliterate Zhenya as Genya. But instead I’ll give the author some credit: Genya looks like a nickname for Evgenia to an English speaker. So I’m not that pissed. Just remember: it’s a soft g, not a hard one.

And Because I Can:

Here’s Evgeni Nabokov and Joe Pavelski cheering on a random kid at a spelling bee.


Next time: The royal audience! And significantly less gushing over Russian hockey players.


  1. I wish I were a Tailor. I’d make so much money and be able to touch myself up to look as good as needed. I really like Genya so far and her logic on how Alina should be presented. Nice to know she has her own short story.

    Oh, it’s Mal she likes, not Alexei. Ugh. Mal’s such a dull name to me; Alexei sounds so much sexier. No wonder I got them confused.

    1. I’m going to be recapping Genya’s story pretty soon, since it concerns something that happens in the next chapter I have to cover.

      I hate Mal, too, but it’s mostly because Alina’s obsessed with him and we haven’t seen cause for it.

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