Published: May 7, 2013
Number of pages: 356
Publisher: Square Fish
Genre: fantasy, romance, mystery
Verdict: 5 owl hoots out of 5
Alina Starkov was raised an orphan by the Border Wars, along with her friend, Mal. Years later, they join the army to enter the Shadow Fold that is crawling with monsters. But when her convoy is attacked, Alina unleashes a hidden power she never knew she had. Soon she is taken away from the army where she is trained at the palace to be a Grisha, a magical elite led by the Darkling. He believes that Alina is the key to ending wars and bring about peace. She is compelled to believe him until Alina discovers his dark motives for using her.
As the final book Ruin and Rising is coming out this month, I started reading the Grisha trilogy. I love reading new fantasy series so I know what’s out there. After hearing how my fellow book bloggers have read and gave it rave reviews, I was only half convinced. But after finishing the book I was immediately sold!
Alina, an orphan trained to be a mapmaker joins the army marching to the Shadow Fold, along with her childhood friend, Mal. To the reader, she seems like an ordinary orphan girl raised to master the art of cartography. But as she arrives to the Shadow Fold with her troops, Alina’s life quickly changes as she learns her new identity that was hidden from her for years. And that is only the beginning of her adventure.
After revealing her hidden power, Alina is quickly taken to the palace where she becomes a Grisha, a magical army led by the Darkling. He’s a mysterious character with hidden intentions, and a twisted dark side that we learn later in the story. Out of all the characters, the Darkling stands as my number one favorite with Alina coming to a close second. He’s seductive, charming and knows how to use those qualities to persuade others in joining him. The Darkling is a master of lies as Alina eventually learns, and he’s the most heartless character in the story. It is because of these qualities that I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with this character, but still intrigued to learn more about his past and plans for the kingdom.
Alina has all the makings of a strong heroine. At first, she feels confused and lost after discovering her new identity as a Grisha, which is understanding as she spent her entire life believing that she was just another orphan girl with no past or family to identify herself with. But after accepting her identity as Grisha, Alina learns to hone her power that she can now wield using her will. But even during her training, she still felt that something was missing, and I was relieved when Alina was finally reunited with Mal as he is the most important person that makes her feel complete and whole again. Alina and Mal are like two peas in a pod as they’re both compatible and understand each other, but most importantly they need each other to fill the empty void inside their hearts as they stand together and begin a journey to save their country and the kingdom from war.
A mesmerizing story with Russian elements, romance and adventure, I love this first book in the trilogy. The final book, Ruin and Rising is coming out soon and meanwhile, I’m waiting for the release of Siege and Storm in paperback. In other words, I have a long way to go until I read the final book.
Ruin and Rising releases on June 17 and can be found where books are sold.