Since I only started book-blogging a couple months ago, I've only been able to review the books I've read in the last couple months. But there are so many amazing books I've read that I want to tell you guys about, and that's why I decided to start a NEW THING: Literary Public Service Announcements. Essentially, I'm going to pimp a book that I read before I started blogging, but that I want to foist upon the world due to it's high levels of sheer awesomeness, for the good of the public and all that jazz. Instead of me just telling people over and over that they should read something "JUST BECAUSE!!!1!", I've decided to actually explain in a more eloquent fashion just why my favorite books are my favorites.
Usually, trying to explain a book's awesomeness goes something like this:
But I shall try regardless. So for my very first PSA, I'm reviewing a book that easily cracked my top ten of 2012, and which, if you follow my blog, you probably want me to shut up about already (but which I will never do):
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.
Ravka has got to be one of my favorite fantasy settings EVER. It's a dark, magical take on eighteenth century Russia, a time and place very dear to my heart. It's a land of rich furs and opulence but also dire winter and bloody war. When people rave about deep fantasy worlds, they mean this. I could see this place. I could walk around it and live there. I could visualize every article of beautifully described clothing. And it is gorgeous. But also menacing.
The Grisha are an amazingly inventive and fascinating creation, none moreso than the Darkling (my GOD do I have FEELINGS about HIM), their ridiculously handsome and powerful leader. Is he sexy? Is he evil? Is he both? It's so confusing! It's so amazing! The system of magic Bardugo has set here is a sort of magical molecular chemistry controlled by this strictly regimented elite. It's hard to make mystical magical summoner types unique, but Bardugo has definitely succeeded. The utter creepiness of the Fold, a swath of impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters that bisets Ravka, was, to quote Ms. Roth above, "like nothing I've ever read".
Alina is a marvelous heroine. She's tough but vulnerable, brave but realistic. As an orphan, she's swayed by a need to be loved and accepted. She's in love with her
The writing and plot flow together so gorgeously. The narrative doesn't rely on magic, but rather characters, with the magic only there to enhance it. I read it one sitting, desperate for more. The narrative is full of light and darkness, magic and blood, love and hate, and basically, if you don't read this RIGHT NOW, you are a fool. Yes, a fool. Okay, not a fool. Books are subjective, this may not be your cup of tea, books are expensive and you can't go buying them all the time. I get it. But to me, this book is a classic, and I seriously hope you all get the chance to experience and love this gem of a story.
Wow. Almost forgot. You CAN because I'm GIVING AWAY a signed copy. That certainly worked out nicely.