My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year. I’m not sure how coherent my review is going to be (hence the reason I’m only now reviewing it), but I’m definitely going to try.
First of all, there was the world building. I’m a huge geek for world building, anyway, but being the history geek that I am, I tend to geek out even more if there’s a strong historical influence.
(Maybe I should keep a running count of how many times I can use geek in the same sentence.) I’m slightly disenchanted with the whole medieval thing because I studied medieval history and get a little irritated about how it tends to be romanticized. So, when I saw Tsarist Russia as an influence (one of my favorite topics from high school history classes), I immediately knew I had to read this book.
I also really liked Alina. As much as I love heroines who kick butt, it was nice to see one who really had to work for it. Not only was she someone girls can look up to, she was someone they can relate to, too. (If anything, I wish there had been a little bit more of this.)
Finally, I loved how good and evil weren’t exactly clearcut from the beginning. My favorite books tend to the the ones with ambiguous characters – bonus points if I actually start rooting for the antagonist! – and they certainly walked the pages here. But…I can’t really go into it more than that because I don’t want to get spoilery.
Basically, you should all read this book. NOW.