Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.
Right away that map was one of the creepiest and coolest ones I have ever seen. I absolutely adore a book with a map. It always indicates this great adventure. The plot started off with a bang. The description of the Shadowfold was creepy as hell and dark and eerie. So having the main characters enter into an unknown element like that right at the beginning of the book sets the tone for some serious action.
I love that Alina was extremely ordinary. The pacing while Alina was at the Little Palace was a little slow. Too much time was spent on the mundane aspects of everyday training. And I understand it was necessary but as soon as Alina rose out of the ashes to become this great badass, I couldn’t put it down.
I LOVED Mal. There was not nearly enough of him in this book. His loyalty to Alina and their childhood connection is unbreakable. He was just this great, strong guy that she needed. On the other hand I am very conflicted about The Darkling. He was a great character, just not necessarily the right one for Alina. He was mysterious and sexy. I’ve read that some people like The Darkling better but to me, it’s clear that Mal and Alina are meant to be.
Bardugo’s once great nation of Ravka is so beautifully opulent as well as barren, mysterious and somewhat haunting, and the magical element made for one unbelievably original and creative book. The ending was a perfect segue to the second book, which I am eagerly anticipating.