As far as Alina Starkov knows, she’s a simple orphan, working as a map-maker for the army of her country, Ravka. Her only friend, Mal, fights in her battalion, working with her to cross the Fold, a blight of darkness expanding across the country, eating up land and people alike. They’re both peasants, lowest on the social totem, which is topped by Grisha, whose ability to do magic makes them the most revered members of society. The Grisha and their leader, the Darkling, are spear-heading the fight against the Fold and Ravka’s other enemies.
When their caravan is attacked by a pack of monstrous volcra, Alina is shocked to discover that she possesses stunning powers. Hustled away to the royal palace to study with the Grisha, she begins learning her potential to save her country from the threat of the Fold. But as she learns more about the hierarchies of magic, she begins to discover that enemies of Ravka may be more numerous than she believes.
This is Leigh Barduco’s first novel, but she immerses the reader into the culture of Ravka, a country parallel to Russia. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next installment.