It took me a while to finish this book, but, wow. It is one of the most well written books I've read in the last few years. While combining the quinteIt took me a while to finish this book, but, wow. It is one of the most well written books I've read in the last few years. While combining the quintessential elements of both Science Fiction and Fantasy, it wouldn't be out of place in so-called literary fiction, either.
The story is told from three viewpoints, three levels of cultural advancement. Elana is from an advanced culture, capable of telekinesis and telepathy, among other things. Jarel's culture has reached a level of scientific knowledge and ability similar to our own; they believe only in what they can see. Georyn is a native of the planet the story takes place on, a medieval time.
When Jarel's ship lands on Georyn's planet to cultivate it for the Imperial Exploration Corps, taking captive the natives, treating them like animals to be studied, Elana's ship is redirected to encourage the invaders to leave. But because of oaths they have taken, they cannot do so directly, for doing so would reveal themselves and interrupt the natural evolution of the other races. They cloak themselves in analog's to Georyn's time: enchantment, dragons, spells.
The heartbreaking thing about this story that pulled me in and kept me there is the growing affection between Elana and Georyn, two people with vastly different understandings of the universe, but who contain souls that see beyond that to truly see each other.
From the first page, you know they cannot stay together. The book begins at the end, before returning to the start. And that is part of what keeps you in the story. Their love is undeniable, but untenable. The end is satisfying and bittersweet.
I have nothing negative to say. It's the story it was meant to be....more
What I loved: You know from the first sentence that Ananna is a rough girl. Her speech isn't refined, even inside her own thoughts. She's brash, oftenWhat I loved: You know from the first sentence that Ananna is a rough girl. Her speech isn't refined, even inside her own thoughts. She's brash, often leaping before thinking. She's uneducated, but bright. She doesn't natter on and on about her developing feelings toward Naji, but it is very clear to the reader that she is slowly falling for him, just as we the reader are falling for him.
Ananna and Naji jump from one mess to another, always managing to scrape by somehow, though generally left in a worse position each time.
What I didn't like: My only issue with this book is where it ended. 1) Because I wanted more, but more importantly 2) I didn't feel like the book was ready to end where it ended. It's a decent ending, but it felt like the story was cut off prematurely for editing or marketing reasons, and not necessarily the author's choice. I don't know, it could have been her choice. But I would have been very happy with a longer book that completed the story arc.
I will definitely pick up Book 2 when it is available. ...more
I was browsing in the bookstore, picked this book up because I was intrigued by the cover, and was immediately draw into the Russian-flavored world.
RoI was browsing in the bookstore, picked this book up because I was intrigued by the cover, and was immediately draw into the Russian-flavored world.
Romance: Well balanced, never threatens to take over the story and adds great conflict.
Adventure: Wonderful. Alina is kept unbalanced, trying to understand her new place in life when she is suddenly raised from a second-rate map maker to one of the most powerful Grisha (magic-users) in the country. She's never quite sure who to trust, and even when her trust is given or taken, there are times that ends up being the wrong choice.
Conflict: Bardugo creates a wonderful balance with Alina's inner conflicts concerning Mal, the Darkling, and who she is, her external struggles to conquer her powers, the country's internal conflicts with the Shadow and political factions, and the country's external conflicts with other countries.
Setup for other books: Bardugo has created a wonderfully complex world that will lend itself well to a continuation of Alina's tale.
Ending: A great wrap up. Even though this is only book one, the book had its own complete arc, beginning, middle and end that left me satisfied. ...more
I hate the angst in the Guinevere/Lancelot/Arthur mess. I always get so mad at all three of them. It takes a good authorI absolutely love this book.
I hate the angst in the Guinevere/Lancelot/Arthur mess. I always get so mad at all three of them. It takes a good author to make me forget that this is going to happen as I read the story. White did that. Even when G stepped on to the scene, I forgot. I was so caught up in the characters and how White dives into their minds and purposes, with such humor and wit! Through White's interpretation, I felt like I could empathize with each character.