Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (June 5th, 2012)
Hardcover: 358 pages
Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
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
Alina Starkov fits pretty well in to the YA heroine with the world riding on her should mold, but more importantly (to me anyways) is her ridiculously dry humour that had me giggling. It’s what makes her really stand out, why I liked her so much and what made me enjoy the book more. The two gentlemen of the book consist of the Darkling and Malyen Oretsev. The Darkling is a “creature of seductive charm and terrifying power”, the nameless Grisha leader is effortlessly irresistible, but personally I was not a huge fan. I can see the charm and I can see why, but he just doesn’t do it for me and that might possibly be because of Mal. Mal is Alina’s childhood friend and amazing tracker for the First Army, who is not perfect but undergoes so many challenges that it hard not to fall head over heels for him.
The majority of the book, plot wise which revolves around a struggle for power, is somewhat predictable in particular for seasoned readers of the YA fantasy/romance genre. The first half consisted of creating the universe and building the characters. We get to travel with King’s Army, our first taste of the Shadow Fold and the volcra, the Grishas and The Little Place. The second half, which I easily enjoyed more takes the adventure further. Still overall the book is a wonderful read. With a lot of raving reviews there were pretty high expectations going into this book, and for me it delivered pretty well.
Ps. To help you out in the world of the Grisha, check out Bardugo’s Speak Ravka.
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