Jan here. I just pop in when I've read something I really liked. Today it is Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone.
The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.
Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?
The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.
But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?
To be honest, I don't love the dark, mysterious hero. So the whole time the Darkling is doing his charismatic, we-are-meant-to-be thing I was pretty skeptical. And Mal was such a great character. And Alina is sympathetic and even though this is, at heart, a normal young girl who turns out to be not so normal story, she's believable. And the world is detailed and interesting and nuanced. The concept of the Shadow Fold as the evil is so spare and scary it works as the representation of evil in a way not realized in many other books. Definitely a recommendation.