Author: Leigh Bardugo
Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, the one thing she could rely on was her best friend and fellow refugee, Mal. And lately not even that seems certain. Drafted into the army of their war-torn homeland, they’re sent on a dangerous mission into the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh.
When their convoy is attacked, all seems lost until Alina reveals a dormant power that not even she knew existed. Ripped from everything she knows, she is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. He believes she is the answer the people have been waiting for: the one person with the power to destroy the Fold.
Swept up in a world of luxury and illusion, envied as the Darkling’s favorite, Alina struggles to fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But as the threat to the kingdom mounts, Alina uncovers a secret that sets her on a collision course with the most powerful forces in the kingdom. Now only her past can save her . . . and only she can save the future.
The buzz around this book is all true. It is fabulous. I will give a quick warning though that it is a little slow in the beginning but it does pick up. There is lots of awesome packed into this book. There is a little romance and a lot of action.
Aline and Mal grow up together as orphans in the once great nation of Ravka which is now a war torn nation due to the shadow fold which is a near impenetrable place where creatures feast on human flesh reside.
Aline and Mal have enlisted themselves into the army and are sent into the fold. Once there the mission goes horribly wrong and Aline finds a power within herself she was not aware she possessed to save Mal’s life. She is then taken to the royal court to train to become a Grisha.
Mal and Aline have a rocky relationship. Mal does not seem to notice the feelings Aline has for him and once she is whisked off to the royal court she does not hear from him. Aline is a character that took me awhile to get to know and to warm up to. I found her to be a little clingy to Mal and her old life but once she settled into the court and discovered her power she became a more developed and strong character. I thought Mal was a little bit of a jerk in the beginning and it took me almost the entire book to change my mind about him. The darkling was a character that I sided with in the beginning. I found a lot of characters were full of twists and turns I did not expect.
The book was a little slow to start but there is a lot of world building to be done. In order to properly imagine the world that Aline is faced with it does take a lot of description but once this was out of the way I was able to concentrate more on the characters than the setting.
This is a book I expected to like and it followed what I have heard about it. It was really well written and this is a series I look forward to following in the future.
Since I am feeling a little vain today I am going to mention the gorgeous cover. I loved how it extends to the back flap. The cover matches the feel of the story completely.