3 and a half. 3 star first half, solidly 4 star second half. I understand that a lot of set up and world-building was necessary, but I was on the verge of not bothering to finish. Then I was suddenly very very into the story. The blurb from Veronica Roth on the front describes Shadow and Bone as like nothing she's every read before which is odd since for the first part it is exactly like everything I have ever read before, including Roth's own Divergent. Girl leaves familiar world, learns new powers, meets new people, gets some sort of makeover, undergoes personal transformation, kisses a boy. It's not a bad formula. I liked our main character right from the start, though I wanted her to be a little less of a sad sack. Never fear though, once she hits that personal transformation part of the story, she wastes no time growing into her potential. The reason I went back and forth between 3 and 4 is that the world-building takes too long. It is really not until half way through that the story picks up momentum, but once it does, wow. Suddenly not so predictable. Suddenly I'm grateful for the time she spent establishing the background though I still wish she had managed to engage me more during that time. I ended up loving this book and will for sure read the rest of the series.