Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

The Grisha #1

A boy and a girl, orphaned by war, grow up to be best friends.  Alina feels something more for Mal but he’s still playing the field. When their military unit is sent forth by The Darkling, a most powerful and unique Grisha who leads the Second Army, to cross the Shadow Fold, Alina and Mal’s chances of survival are not great.  When Mal’s life is threatened, something unexpected is unleashed in Alina — a kind of Grisha power that hasn’t been seen in many years.

The discovery not only drives a wedge between them but marks Alina as a valuable asset to The Darkling — and his enemies.  Alina’s powers as a Sun Summoner could be the key to destroying the Shadow Fold that separates Ravka from the bounty and benefits of the True Sea.  As she learns how to use her ability, however, Alina can see that all is not well in Ravka’s leadership and that she may be a pawn in a new (and old) power struggle.

Action-packed world-building that features a young woman discovering her self worth; slight political intrigue; plenty of good vs. evil, especially where power is concerned.

SPOILERS

Alina is too easily convinced that the Darkling’s motives are evil.

She has verbatim recall of previous dialogue, rendered to the reader in italics.  Why can’t characters ever be vague on the details of what another person said?

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