By: Leigh Bardugo
Published: June 5, 2012 by Henry Holt and Co.
Source: Personal Library, Hardback copy
(Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository)
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.My Review:
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 fulfill 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.
What I didn't like:
Let's get this out of the way first because it's minor and doesn't have an affect one way or the other on my overall rating. This book uses a lot of words that aren't English...in fact I'm not sure what kind of language it is or if it's a made up language just for this story. An example is kefta - which means a Grisha coat which comes in various colors to symbolize the type of power a Grisha has. Any time a book uses language like this I usually just skim over it. Otherwise I have a tendency to get bogged down if I focus on those kind of words too long because I get frustrated on whether or not I'm pronouncing them correctly. Unfortunately for me, this story has a lot of those words and so I probably spent more time trying to decipher them than necessary but I didn't want to miss out on any details of the story. I would have benefited greatly from a glossary of words, pronunciation and their definitions somewhere in the front or back of the book to aid in the readers knowledge of the story.
What I liked:
I loved that the story starts with 2 orphans, a boy, Mal and a girl, Alina who grow to be best friends. Though their interaction is minimal for most of the story, their connection throughout is huge. Through having no home of their own they become home to each other. They are both outsiders looking into a world of magic and beauty wishing they could one day be a part of it too.
The world created in this book was very interesting. I have a soft spot anyway for stories taking place at castles. Mix castles, magic, sexy male characters and strong female characters together and you have an exciting adventure waiting to take place! The Grisha are described as "soldiers of the Second Army and masters of the Small Science". They are people born with a special power which manifests itself as the child ages, most of them are aware they have a power before their preteen years. Once discovered these children are moved to Os Alta to learn how to use and control their power. There are three categories of Grisha - Corporalki who are the Order of the Living and the Dead, Etherealki who are the Order of Summoners, and Materialki who are the Order of Fabrikators. Within each of these three categories are specific types of Grisha powers.
Aside from Mal and Alina, Genya is a great side character! Not to mention her Grisha power is being able to enhance one's appearance, making Grisha along with others at the court more beautiful. Plus she seems to be Alina's only true friend while she is at the Little Palace. And then there's The Darkling. I loved how the author mesmerizes you with the mystery and intrigue of The Darkling. Who is he really? Can he be trusted? Clearly he oozes power and sex appeal, but is there more than meets the eye? Are his intentions good? Why is Alina so drawn to him? I found myself asking all of these questions along with Alina as she is forced into the Grisha world and The Darkling puts her under his protection.
I will say at one point I was disappointed with the turn of events - but I can't give that away as it would ruin the last 100 pages of the book. My disappointment was quickly overshadowed by understanding and clarity as events begin to unfold and questions begin being answered.
"I've been waiting for you a long time, Alina", he said. "You and I are going to change the world."
"I'm sorry it took me so long to see you, Alina. But I see you now."
"The moment our lips met, I knew with pure and piercing certainty that I would have waited for him forever."
This was a highly enjoyable fantasty novel and I look forward to starting book 2, Siege and Storm.
Final Rating - 4 stars