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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 460

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.

In this quote, the narrator sets the...

(The entire section contains 460 words.)

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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.

In this quote, the narrator sets the stage for this Russian fantasy story where the protagonist, a once ordinary girl named Alina, discovers that she has magical powers that can defend her friends and discomfit her enemies. Such children with magical powers are called Grisha and are in high demand at court because of their usefulness in defending the imperiled state.

“Wait!” exclaimed Mal. “What happens if we’re Grisha? What happens to us?” The woman in red looked down at them. “If, by some small chance, one of you is Grisha, then that lucky child will go to a special school where Grisha learn to use their talents.” “You will have the finest clothes, the finest food, whatever your heart desires,” said the man in purple. “Would you like that?” “It is the greatest way that you may serve your King,” said Ana Kuya, still hovering by the door.

Here Alina first learns how Grisha are treated if they make it through their tests and training. She is a slight girl who has never been much good at anything, yet she has a strong personality and it comes naturally to her to defend her friends and her country. If she can make it into the elite ranks of the Grisha, her whole life will be transformed. She will also be under the authority of a mysterious master known as the Darkling. Honor comes with new challenges, risks, and real danger, as she is beginning to learn.

A heavy shoulder slammed into me from behind. I stumbled and nearly pitched face-first into the muddy road. “Hey!” shouted the soldier. “Watch yourself!”“Why don’t you watch your fat feet?” I snapped, and took some satisfaction from the surprise that came over his broad face. People, particularly big men carrying big rifles, don’t expect lip from a scrawny thing like me. They always look a bit dazed when they get it.

In a march toward the Shadow Fold that is destroying their land, we see Alina's strong side. She's not afraid to stand up to adults when she's wronged, even when they seem to be much more powerful than she is. She has inner courage and can speak up when she needs to. This quote foreshadows the quirky girl's future transformation into a powerful member of the Grisha elite and her heroic deeds in the face of great dangers. She is perceptive, brave, witty, and human enough to make a great heroine in this dark fantasy novel.

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