I am very glad that I waited until the entire series was published to start these books. Because I would have gone insane with rage if I had to wait for the next one to come out.
I will willingly and openly admit that a good portion of my love for this book is nostalgia. It's the same reason I loved the Star-Crossed series
. But, that's not a bad thing. This is exactly the sort of story that I love, and I haven't found many of those in my reading piles so far this year.
Perhaps it's my addiction to fantasy talking, but I love reading about how and why the magic in a story works. Even better, the Grisha are also a separate military force from normal foot soldiers, and a lot of the story is focused on not only the practical applications of magic in military situations, but in the conflict between the two sides of the army as they each struggle to find a way to maintain relevance after the war has ended.
I uh...I'm not really in the book for the romance, in case you couldn't tell.
That's not to say that I disliked the romantic plot. The love-hate tension between Alina and the Darkling was terrific. Mal was kind of forgettable, but oh did I love the Darkling. I dare say he was my favorite character of the entire book.
The story feels like a fairy tale inside a fairy tale, with just a bit of Russian culture sprinkled on top. And I loved every single second of it.