This review is also on my blog: Boodaddict BiekeBuddy read with Traci L.I've read a lot of reviews about this book. Most of them were really positive. Even the reviews of some tough reviewers who aren't afraid to say it when they don't like a book, were very positive. So I was curious about this book and bought it. I'm not ashamed to say that I had really high expectations for this book. And it lived up to those expectations. Not only that, it exceeded them and left them far behind. So I think a lot of people agree with me when I say you, Leigh Bardugo, deserve a standing ovation.This book is about Alina, an orphan girl from a place called Ravka. When she and her regiment are under attack of some vicious creatures in the Shadow Fold, she saves her best friends life and the lives of all the others with a dormant power she never even knew she had to begin with. Her life is thrown upside down from that moment on and I'm not going to tell you anymore of this book because you just have to read it if you want to know. (And you have to read it. Seriously.)"Pain shot through my body.And the world went white. I closed my eyes as a sudden, piercing flood of light exploded across my vision. It seemed to fill my head, blinding me, drowning me. From somewhere above, I heard a horrible shriek. I felt the volcra's claws loosen their grip, felt the thud as I fell forward and my head connected with the deck, and then I felt nothing at all.First of all, I loved the writing in this book. Leigh is a brilliant writer and knows how to keep someone's attention to a book. Just when you think you have this book all figured out, the story goes left when you expect it to go right. Very sneaky, but effective. Nicely done Leigh. The names in this book are also so great. Not only the names of the characters, but also the cities and magical beings (Okay small science, whatever. I call it magic). Very original!"Stop!" I shouted, backing away from them. They hesitated, looking from me to the girl.Honestly, nothing sounded better than a hot bath and a change of clothes, but I wasn't about te let some tyrannical redhead push me around. "What is going on? Who are you?""I don't have ti-""Make time!' I snapped. "I've coverd almost two hundred miles on horseback. I haven't had a good night's sleep in a week, and I've nearly been killed twice. So before I do anything else, you're going to have to tell me who you are and why it's so very important that you get my clothes off."The story starts off very good and immediately gets my attention. As I already said, there are a few twists in this story that'll surprise you and makes you want to read on and on and on into the late hours of the night, just because you want to know what happens next. It's never really predictable. One of those twists made me cry and then shortly after that, the story changes direction once again and by the end of the story I was clinging to my e-Reader with my eyes wide open."I guess I'm asking you to trust me," he said.What was I supposed to say? I didn't really have a choice. If the Darklink wanted me to be patient, I would have to be patient. "Okay," I said finally. "But hurry it up."He laughed again, and I felt a pleased flush creep up my cheeks. Then his expression became serious. "I've been waiting for you a long time, Alina," he said. "You and I are going to change the world."I laughed nervously. "I'm not the world-changing type.""Just wait," he said softly, and when he looked at me with those gray quartz eyes, my heart gave a little thump.Now, let's talk about the characters. I love Alina. She isn't perfect, not at all. She's can be very insecure about the way she looks and the way other people see her. BUT she can kick some ass when she needs to. I love her friendship with Genya and I love Genya too. She is adorable and cute and their friendship is so sweet. And Mal. Oh Mal. I love him. I really do. I was hoping the entire book that he would come around and see how great Alina is and when he finally did and they kissed I was making squeaky sounds and I was giggling like a teenage school girl. But then miss Bardugo had to throw another twist in my face that made me cry and yel 'NOOOO' at my e-Reader. Which is a really pointless thing to do, but it shows how this book not only holds my attentions, but also touches me and I like that very much in a book. The darkling. What can I say about him? First I loved him, then I hated him. By the end of the book, I hated him. I'm not telling why, you'll just have to read the book. It's one of those twists that I mentioned earlier. The light shattered, leaving me in darkness.Wow, this feels like a long review. Maybe because it is a long review for me. It sure helps to make notes while reading. Lol. Okay not interesting. I can't wait to read the sequel to this book and I hope it's as good, or even better, then this one. I bow to you, Leigh Bardugo. You have gained another loyal fan with me.