Top critical review
Reviewed in the United States on November 11, 2018
This has a really creative world and some potential, but the characters are all underdeveloped and the storyline is very predictable. The bad guy in this story is over a hundred years old, but behaves like a teenager and treats the main character (Alina - a teenage girl) like a peer throughout the entire series and changing relationship between the two. This isn't even considering their age difference, he's in the upper class and pretty much second to the King in their country while she's a grunt (orphan) in some army. No matter the situation, Alina and The Darkling interact unrealistically and either extremely casually without taking any kind of social pragmatics/culture/rank into consideration, or like a parody of any villain in pop culture. He reminded me of Kylo Ren from Star Wars. It's so awkward. It is like they're a couple of classmates in the same school no matter the situation, which gets more and more frustrating after the first book.
Mal also is very underdeveloped and we don't know much about him other than Alina and him grew up like siblings in the same orphanage, and are best friends.... and (still unrealistically) he's also a love interest that is also very invested in the main character. Other than that "he's very good at tracking people." Okay. How lucky for Alina! He's so bland, he has very little backstory, faults, or anything that would make you otherwise feel anything toward him whatsoever.
This series left me wanting more, but not in a good way.