By Leigh Bardugo
My Rating: 4 / 5
I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while, and since the sequel is coming out soon, I figured this was a good time to get started.
Here is the Goodreads summary:
The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.
Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite – the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?
The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.
But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?
Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.
I loved this book. It pulled me into Alina’s story immediately, and I didn’t want to put the book down. The book had a magical, mystical feeling that I loved, and the setting was perfect. It reminded me of the Katerina Trilogy (The Gathering Storm and The Unfailing Light), because I loved the setting in those books too. Its cold and snow and folklore seemed to fit just perfectly with the tone of the story, and I could definitely picture the Shadow Fold, the military tents, the palace…everything was so vivid.
Another thing I loved about this book? It was spooky! The scenes at the Shadow Fold, the flesh-eating volcra creatures, the abilities of the Grisha…I loved all of that. Seriously, why did it take me this much time to get around to reading this one???
The tension between Alina and her childhood friend Mal, the will-they-won’t-they vibe, was well done. They actually spend a good chunk of the book separated, with Alina spending a lot of time in The Darkling’s company. Now he was an interesting character! There was some romance between he and Alina too, and he was so intriguing and mysterious. I normally don’t understand the appeal of the ‘bad boy’ in stories, so imagine my surprise when I found myself drawn to his character (at least initially)!
I loved Alina’s tough attitude. She grew up in an orphanage and has had a tough life. She struggles when she becomes a Grisha, and I loved reading about all of the training she had to undergo, and the different people she encountered, from other Grisha to their trainers.
Some parts of the plot were a bit predictable, but I still enjoyed reading about it all, and I must admit that the truth about the Shadow Fold took me by surprise. I can’t wait to read the sequel, Siege and Storm! I would love to read more about Alina and Mal’s past, what their lives were like before they each came to the orphanage for example.
So I feel like all I have done in this review is gushed about how much I loved this book! I have probably used the word ‘loved’ way too many times for such a short review, but that’s how I feel! This was a fantastic read. If any of the following descriptors appeal to you, I would definitely recommend that you pick this up: dark, fantasy, magic, romance, mystery. Okay, how long until Siege and Storm comes out??