Author: Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: 5th June 2012
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.
So wonderful! I originally only picked this up because I wanted to read Six of Crows and although the two series are different but just set in the same world, I thought I ought to read this first, and I’m so happy I did!
The book sees Alina, an outcast and an apprentice map maker, come to realise she might be the key to helping her home of Ravka cast away the ‘Shadow Fold‘. There’s mystery, romance and a load of magic.
Firstly, the writing in this is crazy good! I’ve never been drawn into a story so quickly and found myself physically unable to put it down. Although it is classed as ‘high fantasy’ on goodreads, I wouldn’t let it put you off if that’s not your cup of tea. The focus of this book is a lot more on the relationships between all of the characters and the only thing you really have to get your head around is the different levels of Grisha and what the powers mean.
Alina wasn’t a perfect heroine – she was so doubtful of herself for at least half the book and all of the ‘I’m not pretty’ and ‘I’ll never be that powerful’ lines got repetitive – However, I don’t like perfect heroines who instantly take on big changes like it’s nothing. Alina’s acceptance over who she really was took time and she grew and there was a noticeable shift in her confidence by the end of the book which makes me hopeful for the rest of the series!
The character who stole the show though has to be the Darkling who is dark, powerful, enigmatic, and dangerous. His unpredictability kept the book so interesting, and made Alina’s main love interest, Mal pale in comparison! More of him please.
(Now bear with me as I collect my thoughts on Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising. My book hangover from this series is immeasurable, and I’m annoyed at myself for reading these so quickly!)