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.
My Thoughts: I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was immediately pulled to this book as soon as I saw the cover. Isn't it amazing? I normally am not a huge fan of the fantasy genre but this book surprised me and I really enjoyed it. Alina is such an awesome character; she is one tough cookie, just the way I like my heroines. I also liked the fact that with the exception of Mal and Alina, you never knew which character was friend or foe. I felt like I was always cautiously liking a character because I didn't know whether I should trust them or not. The Darkling was one such character; he showed early on that he was capable of violence but other times he seemed to really care for Alina.
The author definitely outdid herself in the creation of the world of the Grisha and I loved how she incorporated all of the Russian/East European aspects into the story. Ravka was so well-developed with all the different types of Grisha, the different colors and clothes they wore and all their different powers. I also loved Bardugo's description of the Shadow Fold, I could almost sense the darkness whenever this area of Ravka was discussed.
This is the first book in a trilogy and I am definitely excited to read the next book. There was a big twist toward the end of the story and I was left with a lot of questions at the end. I also want to see more of Mal in the next book. He wasn't part of a big chunk of the story and I would like to get to know him better. Overall, a great read! 4 stars.