Verdict: Enjoyable if you don't overthink it
Alina Starkov is a lonely orphan who lacks energy, until she releases a dormant power, one that could destroy the creatures that plague Ravka. She's torn from her best and only friend Mal and forced to learn the ways of the magically elite known as the Grisha.
Alina’s transformation is a beautiful thing to read. She sheds her uncomfortable cartographer self and grows into someone completely distinguishable.
There were some surprisingly girly parts in this, from appreciating clothes and magical makeovers, to gossiping and best friends. Only a touch, but enough for me to say I understand why the cover is purple.
I loved the way magic was used in this book, but I found there was a lot to learn and even more left unsaid. Why is sunlight so amazingly powerful? I never really knew until very late in the book. While I loved the Russian touch, I later discovered it wasn't particularly well researched... I guess it didn't actually matter while reading it, although it's a little disappointing to learn. Oh well.
I also found it played to a lot of the usual YA tropes, which is almost impossible to avoid with so many good books out there. It made it predictable in places, but it's still very enjoyable to read.
I'm torn between 5 stars and 4 stars... At the end of the day, I’m still in love with this book. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone, but if a magical, romantic fantasy with Russian influences takes your fancy, then you might be in for a treat with this one.
Source: Bought it.