Wow! Isabella actually owns the book this time! One of my best friends got this book for me for my birthday, but I never actually read it up till now. Why? I really don’t know. However, I needed to read Six of Crows ASAP for a book club, so I finally took the plunge.
Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. She’s an orphan with only two constants: her best friend Mal and her unfortunately persistent crush on him. Then their army regiment is forced to enter the Fold, a perpetual darkness crawling with volcra, ghastly monsters. When their convoy is attacked and Mal is severely injured, Alina desperately reveals a dormant power, one hidden to even Alina herself. She is quickly whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a Grisha, the Second Army led by the mysterious and enormously powerful Darkling. With Alina’s new powers coming to light (excuse the pun), he claims he can finally destroy the fold once and for all. Now Alina must adjust to this lavish world, master her gift, and try to fit in without Mal by her side for the first time in her life. But nothing is as it seems, and as threats to Ravka grow and Alina grows dangerously attracted to a forbidden power, uncovered secrets will threaten to tear both her heart and country in two.
I may have mentioned this before, but I love imperial Russia settings. The Grisha trilogy is set in a world close to this, with similar clothing, food, customs, and even a society, making it easier to dive into Ravka. The differences were what made it truly magical though; I loved all the fantasy elements incorporated very smoothly. The people too were enchanting, although they did take a little bit of warming up. I feel the main character Alina Starkov, was a bit too whiny in the beginning, but it was interesting seeing the events unfold from her first person point of view. She eventually grew on me, especially when she gained a real spine the middle of the book. Mal, Alina’s best friend, was extremely charming and almost a bit too perfect, but the self-sacrificing nature, which appeared towards the end of the book, made him much deeper. Our “villain,” the Darkling, was the most interesting character for me because my perception of him was ever changing, in spite of or maybe because of the fact that everything was written from Alina’s perspective. I also loved a lot of the secondary characters, from Genya’s sassy nature to Baghra’s and Botkin’s tough love. The pace of the book to me was pretty good, with enough twists and turns to keep me on my feet but not hopelessly confused. The romance between Mal and Alina was sweet, although I don’t think it’s enough to make me hardcore show them. Yet. Honestly though, I don’t really see enough chemistry between Alina and anyone yet for a real ship, but hopefully that will change in the next two books.
Basically, I’ve found a new favorite book series and a new favorite author in Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo and I couldn’t be happier. Maybe you’ll have the same experience as I did, so don’t be like me and start today!