Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha: Book One
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Young Adult/YA, Science Fiction
Read: 22nd June 2015
‘I’ve been waiting for you a long time, Alina,’ he said. ‘You and I are going to change the world.’
The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.
Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the world of the kingdom’s magical elite – the Grisha. Could she ne the key to setting Ravka free?
The Darkling, a man of seductive charm and terrifying power. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must 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?
Reading this book on holidays means that I had lots of time and was able to read it very fast. Alina and Mal were orphans who joined the army and Mal became a tracker while Alina became a map maker. They were set to cross from one side of the country to the other by passing through a dark fold that cut the country off from it’s ports. But of course, it being a dark fold full of evil, human eating creatures, things go bad and when Mal is hurt, Alina protects him the best she can. And it means dragging up the power she’s kept hidden inside of her since she was a small child. It leads to Alina being dragged in front of the handsome Darkling and being sent off to the capital of Os Alta where the Grisha live and train.
Set against a Russian type background and bordered by what I can assume is a take of Germany and China, I don’t think I liked this book all too much. The words, such as Corporalki, Etherealki, Materialki, Novokribirsk, Petrazoi and Tsibeya, were hard for me, as someone who has grown up speaking English, Irish and German, to pronounce and I found that they took from my enjoyment of the book.
I enjoyed Alina’s character, she was quiet and dedicated to her work as a map maker, and determined to develop her powers once she unlocked them. She was held back by her childhood best friend, Mal, who I found was a bit like your typical childhood-best-friend-turned-popular kind of guy until Alina’s powers start showing. This isn’t to say he wasn’t a good friend, he did save her life and look out for her and we see on their journey that he is a good person.
I found the Darkling to be a very interesting character. Aside from being described as handsome and appealing, and as well as having his natural charm around Grisha given that his power is to amplify their powers, he has his agendas and he’s determined to make them happen. He knows what he wants and he isn’t afraid to get it, leading him to do very cruel things in the book but I think the fact that once you see his goals, you see all of him makes him my favourite character in the book.
Overall, the plot twists and the palace life as well as the magic training make this book a good read but the language in it took from it for me.
If you like magic, you might find this book enjoyable. I’m finding it hard to think of other comparisons to this book because it is a unique book in its settings and characters.
I have given this book a 3/5🌟