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.
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 fulfil 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?
This book. So lauded and loved, and I was so excited going into it. The excitement died around chapter 2 and bottomed out around chapter 8.
The good: the idea and the magic system were roughly thought out and could have been very interesting. The Russian elements COULD have been great.
What went wrong?
The very premise dissolved into cliches and tropes that are utterly exhausted. And with no new spin or anything to add to those cliches it was just boring and predictable.
The magic felt like a rough draft that still hadn’t been polished.
The Russian elements felt like exoticism. Using Russian words that don’t mean what the prose wanted them to just to add flavor. It came off roughly the same as weaboo adding “kawaii” and “desu” to their every sentence. It was painful. Your entire magic class is basically called “The Gregs” (Grisha is diminutive form of Gregori). I just kept rolling my eyes at every thrown in word and the bloody naming system!!
Russian surnames are different for men and women. Come on. That’s most basic of basic research.
Aside from those points though the writing was just woefully stagnant and stilted. With dialogue that was likewise far too “staged” feeling. Nothing felt organic here.
Especially not the main character. A snarky, badass cartographer in the army who dishes out sass but has nothing to back it up with. Halfway through the novel after seeing her fail at everything we learn she’s always been sickly and frail. She’s afraid of snakes and hates gossiping pretty court girls. Until she learns to love makeup and dresses and gossip. But still those OTHER court girls are so mean and two-faced and superficial.
I am just so absolutely done with girl on girl hate in novels.
The romance fizzled flat, either because I didn’t care about anyone or the fact that it relied on physical kissing to show me there were feelings between characters rather than any dramatic/ emotional tension.
Just all around, felt like an unpolished first draft.