Shadow and Bone, Chapter 14: In Which Mal Crashes a Fancy Dinner Party

Last time on Shadow and Bone, Alina finally had a successful Training Montage, discovered that she was Beautiful All Along, and got a kiss from the Darkling. Will things keep improving for her? Find out after the cut.

Not this again.

It’s almost time for the Winter Fete! You know what that means: another montage!

(I couldn’t think of an appropriate montage clip, so here’s an entire episode of Regular Show that revolves around a Training Montage gone awry. Have fun.)

Anyway, in this montage:

  • The magitech mages produce fireworks, gems, and cloth for the fete
  • The Summoners perfect their demonstrations for the fete
  • The Darkling goes north to do Darkling Things (because you gotta see what’s going on in the plot in a montage)
  • Alina does more training, but is Distracted by the Beautiful Celebrities — I mean, the Darkling and the kiss he gave her in the last chapter
  • Alina is disappointed that she probably isn’t a high enough level to be not!Russia’s Last Best Hope
  • The Apparat lurks in the background of every shot
  • Alina does more combat training with Botkin on the day of the fete … and learns that Botkin has been pulling his punches on purpose (there’s gonna be a party, so it’s understandable)
  • Alina takes a nice long soak in her tub (no banya time this time around — she wants privacy goddammit)

Genya shows up after Alina’s bath to use her Beautician Mage powers on her hair. She reveals that the Darkling returned from his travels the day before … which distresses Alina because he didn’t visit her afterwards. Genya tries to reassure Alina by telling her that pretty much everyone is attracted to the Darkling and his power.

Finally, Alina’s Pimped-Out Outfit for the fete arrives! Alina is disappointed to discover that she got a black kefta and gown (complete with a gold charm shaped as the Darkling’s sigil) for the occasion. Not only is she going to stand out, she’s going to appear as the Darkling’s equal! But at least she looks good in her new clothes. So good, in fact, that Genya drags Alina to Zoya’s room so she can admire herself in a full-length mirror.

Afterwards, Genya warns Alina to be careful of powerful men like the Darkling. She then reveals that the king raped her (and a bunch of other servants). Alina wonders why the Darkling didn’t do anything to protect Genya — but then, she hasn’t read Genya’s short story, so she doesn’t know what happened when Genya tried to ask the Darkling for help. Genya’s warning also makes Alina curious, but she has no time to inquire further, because…

It’s time to party like it’s … um … whatever year it is!

And so much stuff happens! Like:

  • Alina running into Duke Keramsov, who ran the orphanage she and Mal came from! (He doesn’t remember her, though.)
  • Alina wishing that Mal was around to see her in her Pimped-Out Outfit (argh)!
  • The Grisha demonstrating their powers! (Spouts of flame! Gusts of glitter! A giant wave that doesn’t soak the guests! Mist! And some improvised rainbows from Alina!)
  • Alina and the Darkling demonstrating their powers! (Daylight! Shadow Conjuration! Mirrors everywhere!)
  • The Darkling casting Darkness so he can have some quality kissytime with Alina! (Though he really should be getting briefed on the whereabouts of Morozova’s Herd instead. Alina senses this.) It almost turns into more than just kissytime, but the Darkling realizes that Plot Stuff is more important than Romance Stuff and leaves. He does offer to visit Alina later that night, but Alina doesn’t respond and agonizes over it for the rest of the party.
  • Alina barely avoiding an Important Conversation with the Apparat!
  • Alina having small talk with Fedyor (one of her companions during the trip to Os Alta)!

Eventually, Alina ditches the festivities and walks back to the Little Palace, lost in thought. She should be thinking about Morozova’s Stag and being not!Russia’s Last Best Hope, but instead she’s preoccupied with that steamy make-out session she had with the Darkling earlier. Alina arrives at the Little Palace just in time for the conclusion of the Darkling’s debriefing.

And, to her surprise, she runs into Mal. (Argh!)

Mal reveals that he’s the one who discovered Morozova’s Herd, and that he never received any of Alina’s letters because his unit is constantly traveling. (If you want to find out what really happened to the letters, read Genya’s short story.) Also, Mal saw Alina’s magic demonstration, which pissed him off. He spent half of the book thinking that the Darkling was torturing Alina, only to discover that she’s been living a pampered life with the Grisha instead. Oh, and she’s basically marked as the Darkling’s property, what with the black Pimped-Out Outfit and all.

So, yeah … not the happy reunion Alina was hoping for.

——————–

Stuff I Forgot to Mention Above:

Sorry for the lack of updates! I’ve been busy reading lots of other things that weren’t this book. So far I’ve discovered that The Fifth Season is one of the best Fantasy / Sci-Fi books I’ve read in forever; and that the worst thing about Carve the Mark isn’t all the drummed-up controversy, but how goddamn boring it is. Hell, I liveblogged the latter and lost steam at the end because nothing was really going on. And I didn’t give a shit about any of the characters.

Should I post about all the other books I read on this site? I post series reviews and book liveblogs on the tumblr, but sometimes I read stuff that’s stand-alone or too good or dull to liveblog. So … should I post more book stuff and transfer the series reviews here? Input would be nice.

Send me ideas for montage clips I can use, please. I’ve already used three of the best I could think of. Granted, I still have a couple more Rocky montages I could use, but I don’t want to have to cycle through all the ones I’ve already posted again. And I know I’ve probably forgotten about a few other good ones. So … suggestions. Please.

Genya would totally do the Darkling, if given the chance.

David isn’t attending the fete, much to Genya’s disappointment. He doesn’t like parties.

Genya drags Alina to Zoya’s room not just to use the mirror, but to see Zoya’s reaction to Alina’s Pimped-Out Outfit and “borrow” her antimony mascara. (Fun fact: Kohl is made from antimony.)

Sergei the Heartrender (who we haven’t seen in a while) escorts Alina to and from the fete.

The ball reminds me of the ballroom scenes from Russian Ark.

Mal volunteered to send word to the Darkling about Morozova’s Herd just so he could check on Alina.

Food Porn!

Featured foodstuffs include:

  • Roasted lynx
  • Salted peaches
  • Burnt swan with saffron

Names in Russian:

Keramsov: Керамсов

——————–

Next time: Baghra infodumps Alina.

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