Shadow and Bone


Leigh Bardugo

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Shadow and Bone: Chapter 10 Summary & Analysis

Alina’s days are awful and frustrating. It starts to seem absurd that the Darkling thinks she has powers at all, let alone the ability to destroy the Fold. Both Baghra and Botkin work Alina hard and reprimand her, but Alina struggles to improve. She sleeps poorly and isn’t hungry, which leads Baghra to think Alina is purposefully fighting her power. The Etherealki often practice by the lakeside together, but Alina never joins them. Because the Darkling fears assassination attempts, Alina can’t join the Grisha on weekend outings. She seldom sees the Darkling either; he apparently spends most of his time traveling. Because he never acknowledges her, Alina figures he’s mad that she’s such a failure. And she struggles to understand Grisha theory at all—though she does note that the word for people without Grisha gifts is otkazat’sya, a word for orphan.
In every way, Alina feels lost and alone. She’s dealing with seemingly absurd accusations that she doesn’t want to be successful, which make little sense, since Alina realizes that developing her power is how she’s going to make a place for herself at the Little Palace. Because she feels so out of place and ashamed of her perceived failures, Alina also pulls away from potential friends. In terms of her education, she’s also years behind, and this feels overwhelming. It’s difficult for her to realize that the word for non-Grisha people is also a word for orphan, since Alina is an actual orphan—and at this point, she also feels like an otkazat’sya.
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One afternoon, as Alina is reading in the library, the Apparat appears and looms over her. He’s the only other person in the library, and he sits down. Alina tries not to inhale his damp, dead smell as he explains that he’s a spiritual advisor and wants to be friends. He offers her a gift: a small book of saints. The Apparat says that peasants love saints but hate Grisha—and he believes this is because Grisha don’t suffer like saints. But Alina, he says, has suffered and will suffer more. Suddenly afraid, Alina looks up. But the Apparat’s eyes are full of pity, not malice. Alina makes excuses and runs away. She tosses the book in a bottom drawer and thinks about the Documents Tent—and how much she misses Mal. She’s been writing him weekly, but he hasn’t responded.
The Apparat’s attempt to befriend Alina is frightening for her, mostly because he essentially insists that Alina is going to suffer enough to eventually be called a saint. Saints usually die in brutal ways, so this is not a comforting thought. Interestingly though, the Apparat puts his finger on the public relations issue the Grisha have with the general populace: they’re not relatable or sympathetic. So, despite his frightening demeanor and awful smell, the Apparat might have useful insights.
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