Alina is an ugly orphan who finds herself in the battlefield as a cartographer. She unlocks powers never seen before and is immediately whisked away to a palace to hone her powers for the greater good by the Darkling. She leaves behind her childhood friend Mal, also an orphan turned unparalleled tracker.
She comes into her own at the palace and becomes beautiful, talented, and the unwitting consort of the revered Darkling, pushing past her initial ugliness/weakness/obscurity/bullies.
Some quick remarks:
-The Russian names for the character and titles were a little off-putting, but as with any book, I adapted to the world system here.
-The magic system could have used more development. We get that Alina has special powers, but I would have loved a little more insight into either battle magic or the classifications of magic.
-I adored that Alina had very little wish-washy feelings between the two male leads.
-I disliked how the book seemed to be partitioned into three or four parts, yet had little content for each section. As an entire book it works, but I felt that all parts could have used a lot more development. This could have been an epic book, seriously.
-Interactions between characters were divine. And Alina and Mal are very easy to love and root for.
-I wish there was more development for the Darkling and his motivations behind everything.
Seems like I'm only complaining about the lack of development. But pretty much everything else was on point and a delightful read. Two stars because I can't imagine rereading it again.