Genre: YA Fiction, Fantasy
“Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.”
I found this book in the library’s catalog and I thought, “Hey, I made the goal to read more fantasy, so why not!”
This book is adorable – in a YA fantasy with monsters sort of way. The world itself is reminiscent of Imperial Russia. My main concern is that it felt very surface level, both in story and in emotional responses. This book could have been twice as long, filled with more in-depth personality, emotional responses, and less passive tone. However, I am aware that my reading level is the biggest cause of that comment. For the younger fantasy reader, this book is a must-read.
However, this book lost that last point because:
I found Alina’s constant self-doubt and self-consciousness annoying. It drowned the first half of the book. It felt like a thirteen year old’s diary in a way; nothing else seemed to happen other than her being self-consciousness.
I found her “romance” with Mal equally annoying and unfounded. They knew each other as kids and suddenly they’re in love? Meh. I would have liked some more development within their relationship, within the world (which was super cool, by the way.) Some chapters from Mal’s POV would have greatly increased this book. He felt so mundane, and yet Alina’s supposedly so in love with him. I didn’t feel that connection at all.
(Spoilers) Alina was extremely gullible. The old teacher suddenly tells her this big conspiracy and Alina just instantly believers her. It happens too fast; I had trouble believing it.
Alina’s character in general was boring. The “Bella-Copy” characters are a pet peeve of mine, where the character has no personality and spends the book thinking about herself and her problems. I like my characters with more meat to them.
Still, the story given was fantastic, fun, and easy. Despite my personally wants out of a novel, I gave this book a 4/5.