Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: June 5th 2012
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
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.
Let me say right off the bat that this review is not going to do this book justice. I had no idea what I was getting to when I read this book, I don't usually read book synopsis's, I just go with what other people think and say so that not too much is revealed before I read it. THIS. BOOK. IS. FREAKING. MAGIC. I'm not even going to try to sum up this book because I'll just make it sound really crazy, because in a way it is. But it is much more that crazy. This book has a mash of crazy emotions, love, hate, confusion, betrayal, and loyalty.
The world is one of the big parts of this book. It's super freaky... I mean seriously. The world that the main character Alina lives in has a huge rip down the middle of it called the Unsea that contains nothing but darkness and is in inhabited by these crazy creatures that kill people. At the very beginning of the book there is a beautiful map of the country Alina lives in and it fits perfectly with the mood of the story, and is very creepy by itself. Other than the Unsea the rest of the world reminds me of the time of castles and kings and knights in shining armor, but instead of knights, this world has the Grisha. The Grisha are select people that are born with powers that the kingdom use as their weapons.The main idea of the story is that Alina finds out much later than a normal person, that she is actually a Grisha that has the power to rid her world of the Unsea and her journey through all the attention that gives her.
Other main characters other than Alina include her best childhood friend Mal who is with her at the beginning of the book when she realizes her powers and when she gets taken away from the army camp she works at. Mal pops up throughout the entire book but is most prominent in the last third of the story. Another main character is the Darkling. The Darkling is much like the magical opposite of Alina. Alina has the power of the sun while the Darkling has the power of, of course, darkness. The Darkling is really a hard character to figure out for a long time. You never know what to think about him and he seems to have a bunch of different personalities toward different people.
Overall this book is an absolute must read. I loved everything about this book from the idea in general to the characters, the setting and just the feel the book gave.