Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publication: Henry Holt and Co. (Dutch version: Blossom Books)
Release Date: June 5th 2012
Spoilers: You may proceed! I’ll try not to spoil.
I wanted to read this book, but there were so many other books to read, so I just postponed it. But then I got an invitation to the Dutch release party of the third book, and I decided to at least have read the first book in the series – in Dutch. I picked it up, and couldn’t put it down.
The story starts with a brief history of Alina and Mal. Alina, our female main character, and Mal, don’t have parents and are living in an orphanage. One day, the Grisha come by to test them; do Alina and Mal have Grisha powers? Not really.
We go back to the present. Because Ravka, the country that Alina is living in, is separated in two by the Shadow Fold. A dark strip of land full of monsters. The once-great nation is now in state of war. And Alina is recruited for the First Army. She, Mal and some other friends, have to pass the Shadow Fold. But when they are attacked, Mal almost gets killed. Alina saves his life, finding out she DOES have Grisha powers. And not just any Grisha Powers.
The mysterious Darkling suddenly has great interest in Alina and he trains her to strengthen her once hidden powers. But who can Alina trust? And where is Mal? What is happening to her and how can she change the future of Ravka?
Yes, that’s all happening in one book! I was so exciting during the read. I just couldn’t put it away. Usually I insert a synopsis from Goodreads, but since this story is still fresh in my mind, I decided to summarize it myself. Gosh you gotta read this book, it’s so good!
Let’s start with Alina: at first, she seemed like an okay female character. I didn’t know too much about her, excepts she cared for Mal. A lot. But she didn’t wanted to admit it to herself though she does have some escaped butterflies in her stomach. Further in the book, she becomes more and more determined. She struggles with her powers, knowing she will never live up to everybody’s expectations. But when she finds her inner power, the real Grisha that was hidden inside of her, comes out. And I loved that moment. It was described so vividly! I could feel the energy rush through my own body. Amazing!
And what about Mal? Well… he’s funny, he’s sweet and protective about Alina. They both save each other’s life which is good, I guess. At the end, I was very much surprised by Mal. You’ll find out why, but all I can say, is that it made me like him even more than I already did.
The Darkling still is a mystery to me. At some points of the story, I totally fell for him. I started feeling a crush growing. But somehow, it didn’t feel right. I don’t know. Sometimes he really did annoy me. But yeah, he’s super powerful. How could you not like that?
The plot of the story was good. At first, it was surprising. Then I could see things coming from far. But then there was this big freaking plot twist and I was surprised all over again. Like WOW did that really just happen. And yes it did. I love- love- loved it. I think the world is created wonderfully. It really helps the story to be more believable, even though it’s a fake world. It’s all fantasy. But oh how much I loved it.
Leigh, I love how good you are at creating the world around the characters in the books. I am looking forward to learning more about Mal en Alina and mostly about the Darkling and his motives. I adored this book and cannot wait to start on Siege and Storm!!
Rating: 4/5 stars
Are you excited about The Grisha books by Leigh Bardugo? Then it is time to read the trilogy! You will be sucked into it, I’m sure.