From the dust jacket- Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, the one thing she could rely on was her best friend and fellow refugee, Mal. And lately not even that seems certain. Drafted into the army of their war-torn homeland, they’re sent on a dangerous mission into the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh.
When their convoy is attacked, all seems lost until Alina reveals a dormant power that not even she knew existed. Ripped from everything she knows, she is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. He believes she is the answer the people have been waiting for: the one person with the power to destroy the Fold.Swept up in a world of luxury and illusion, envied as the Darkling’s favorite, Alina struggles to fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But as the threat to the kingdom mounts, Alina uncovers a secret that sets her on a collision course with the most powerful forces in the kingdom. Now only her past can save her… and only she can save the future.
Review- There are many things about this book that I really like. I like all the Russian lore that the author puts into the story; I can tell all the love and research she put into it. I like the magic in this world. She creates an interesting and fun system. There are four different kinds of magic, not including the Darkling and Alina because they are the only ones with that kind, and they have their own social levels within Grisha society. They are Corporalki (The Order of the Living and the Dead) Heartrenders and Healers; Etherealki (The Order of Summoners) Squallers, Inferni, and Tidemakers; and Materialki (The Order of Fabikators) Durasts and Alkemi. I like the flow of the story until the end which I feel was rushed but I am willing to forgive because it is a first book. I like that the reader does not really understand the Darkling, who may or may not be a villain or just a man with a very faulted vision for the future. I can see where Bardugo wants to write a second novel in this world, following Alina and Mal, but if she cannot the book has a ending that is a good place to leave it. Alina has power and if she can get back to the Fold she can destroy it forever but if not that is okay too; at least from a reader’s perspective. The title is very much what the story is about there are many, many shadows and bone is needed in the end to the villain and free Alina and Mal.
I give this one three and half stars because the ending is very rushed but the Russian lore is just charming. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.