Completion Date: July 16, 2012
Reason for Reading: Heard good things.
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.I had been hearing a lot of good things about this book recently. Plus, it has an awesome cover. I knew I was going to have to give it a read. Normally buying a few books here and there also helps when my reading is depressing, but sadly that doesn't seem to be helping either. I am hoping things will get better in that department... I did read this pretty much as soon as I got it, though. That is one accomplishment. And, I really liked it, so that helped, too. After I ordered it I started seeing some mixed reactions and I wanted to read it before the hype ruined the experience for me. I just heard enough to think I wanted to read it sooner rather than later.
The novel centres around a young girl named Alina. Life has not been easy for her following the Border Wars when she was left an orphan. The only positive in her life was her friend Mal. With age, though, he has started acting differently around her and she has started thinking differently about him. I think you can catch my drift. When the book opens they are part of a group that is headed into the very dangerous Fold where strange creatures that will feast on your flesh are found. It is basically a doomed mission. The thing is they never counted on Alina. She has been hiding amazing powers that will mean big things for her world as a whole. She quickly comes to the attention Grisha and their leader the Darkling. Life is about to change drastically for her. But, again, everything is not entirely as it seems and life is not about to get miraculously better for Alina. Despite what she might be lead to believe.
I found that I really liked Alina. Her up-bringing has made her a no-nonsense type that at times acts her age and then at other times acts the age that experiences has thrust upon her. She is a smart kid, but she is still just a kid. I believe that she was written believably. I also liked Mal. He is also been brought up to a life not ideal for a young person. He is really good at what he does, though, and isn't easily caught up on the glamour that exists. Bardugo has written a very enjoyable young adult fantasy. There were a few nit-picky things and I wasn't keen on what looked like a love triangle, but I still enjoyed how things played out and look forward to seeing what the next book brings. There is a lot more of Alina's story to be told and I want to be part of that.