Shadow and Bone
Shadow and Bone is a fantasy set in a country that resembles Tsarist Russia, called Ravka. In Ravka's world, magic is real and their exists a caste of magicians referred to as Grisha. Splitting Ravka in two is the Dark Fold, a shadowy stretch of land inhabited by monsters that is impassable without the aid of the Grisha, and sometimes not even then.
Alina, a cartographer in the army, is discovered to have a rare form of magic and is uprooted to the world of the Grisha to learn to use her power. The leader of the Grisha, the Darkling, takes her under his wing and tells her that together they can free Ravka from the Dark Fold. Alina becomes involved in intrigue and treachery, risking her life and that of her best friend, Mal.
I liked this book, but I didn't love it. The plot was interesting, and the world of magic well created. Ravka and how the world functioned was fascinating, but I didn't feel enough time was given to explaining this world. In addition, the two romantic/emotional plot lines didn't ring true.
Alina's background was not fully explained, which isn't always a bad thing, but as a result in this novel, there were not always explanations for her way of reacting to situations. Alina was also not fully convincing as a character, nor was she endearing in any way. She was not a particularly strong character, and though flaws are important to make a character real, her obsession over her looks, her low-self esteem and her inexplicable naivete were frustrating. I simply could not become invested in her as a main character.
I read it all, and found most of it interesting, but not engrossing enough to finish the series.