By Leigh Bardugo
Wow, if you like YA, and some romancy bits, worlds with people that have paranormal powers and evil megalomaniacs trying to rule everyone, check this one OUT!
Alina grows up and comes into her powers in this book. We also find out about this world, the people in it and who is running things. Some folks are VERY magical, others are not. The magical ones work for the king and the head magical guy is the Darkling. Oooh, his name/title is perfect because who knows what his motivations are, he keeps himself separate from most so he is an enigma and he wears black. So, well, it works. He is a scary guy with lots of magic too, and Alina and he have a moment or two. Because Alina, it turns out, has some coveted power and she might be able to help her land, woo hoo! Let’s hear it for the super awesome powers given to the heroine – we all want to be her, or have her on our team! But she struggles with, “who me/why me?” and has a hard time figuring herself out.
It is extremely exciting, lots of scary dark magic, human-eating creatures and death, treachery, some running and some trust issues. I couldn’t put it down. The love interest or two make sense and aren’t beaten into the ground, nor do they glare at each other or fight for the girl with dark looks and teen rivalry. There are a few issues here and there, but whatever, I really enjoyed it. I hear that more twists and turns happen and I cannot wait to open book two. If you like action, magic, fantasy worlds, bits of romance, coming of age stories, conflict and adventure, check this series out. I am going with 5 stars, I don’t give them out often, but for YA adventure paranormal magic awesomeness, a crazy world and a heroine that has enough problems to feel real, this fits the bill. Plus, they didn’t stick two close up faces on the cover, I love that. 5 stars built of magical stag horns.