Romantic Subplot? Eh. There’s a love triangle of sorts but the author didn’t spend a lot of time developing the romance. I really didn’t get why the Darkling had a thing for Alina, it was grossly hyped and seriously underdeveloped.
Plot: Evil dude wants to control the world, supposedly. Alina has a power he wants to use her for, supposedly. After all the hype on the internet, I hoped for more than this story delivered.
What I liked?
Lush world-building and poetic prose.
What I didn’t like?
The Darkling was not developed at all. He seemed almost a one-dimensional caricature of a villain rather than a fully-fleshed out person. His mother was a one-dimensional caricature of the grumpy old teacher. With the exception of Alina, most of the characters were painted in broad-strokes.
Instead of Alina slowly discovering on her own that the Darkling is lying, she gets told and simply believes, running away and tossing her new life and friends aside? Nah. That’s weak sauce character motivation.
Recommend? This book isn’t bad, but I didn’t see the same things the internet is seeing.
I’m going to read the second book and see if the story builds into something more.