I would give it a 3.5 but eh, it was quite good.
The background was rather confusing, especially when you first enter into the book. I did not know what was happening- the scenes jumped so quickly and I was scrambling to decipher what on earth Alina was doing, for what reason, where, and what the place she was in actually looked like.
The books WAS interesting and it COULD keep me at the edge of my seat but hell, the frequency at which I had to DECIPHER THE SETTING was astonishing and jarring.
At times the book was just a bit laden
. Alina kept going woe is me
with her supposedly plain looks and how she hates her rare and powerful ability. I also wanted to get into the intricacies of her studies but they mostly involve her being depressed and moody over her incompetence and when she DOES become somewhat competent, she becomes happy-drunk and a little bit of a snob, dissing the only people who would talk to her.
But to give the book SOME merit, it had redeeming points such as its little plot twists, and I shall appreciate those WHOLLY because they are little wonders in their own right. Alina had her litte quirks such as her endearing tendency to stick her tongue out and her (surprising) sense of humour.“What are you smiling at?”
I whirled, peering into the gloom. The Darkling’s voice seemed to float out of the shadows. He walked down to the stream, crouching on the bank to splash water on his face and through his dark hair.
“Well?” he asked, looking up at me.
“Myself,” I admitted.
“Are you that funny?”
It was a little hard to believe and not very well explained or impressionable (Where is the glossary?!) and it was based on the concept that anything with the suffix "-ki" sounded appropriately Russian-influenced.
Here's the different types of Grisha:
It was quite confusing- at one point it was mentioned that a Grishka could choose between different abilities but in another it is innate. It also took quite the shufti to understand why someone would name their rank ethereal
. The Etheralki summon things like fire, shadows, etc and manipulate them and I fail to see the connection between the name and the ability
But I did like how it was rooted in some logic, such as how in order to shoot fire from your fingers and such you gotta bring all the combustible stuff in the air together like oxygen... cow farts...and particles of firewood in the air...* or how they control wind by altering air pressure.
The love interest(s) weren't the greatest merit of the story- It got a little dull after Alina started to obsess about his lips and his hotness and how her loins were burning with DEEP DESIRE. At one point I believe she made an implicit agreement to GET IT GOING with him later in her room even though his kiss had an UNDERCURRENT OF ANGER- which is usually seen to be fear-inducing, not arousing.
As a whole the book wasn't altogether too bad- It was mostly details such as definitions and descriptions (a bit of the world-building too) that were the most bothersome. The plot was rather good and made a competent fantasy novel (as compared to other high-fantasy/YA novels), which is TRÉS AMAZING for a debut author. I would most probably read the next book in the series because the fictional world they live in is actually interesting and I believe that the author will probably do a better job on the sequel *crosses fingers*
Link to next book: Siege and Storm
* I may have ...embellished a little bit about the materials needed.