Alina and Mal were orphans together growing up in ducal orphanage. As teenagers they went into the army together and together they set out in an armada heading across the Unsea. Attacked by volcra in the pitch dark of the Fold (called the Unsea on maps) Alina summons a force she did not know she possessed, saving Mal. Back in the Russian inspired country, Alina is found to be a Grisha, a class of people with special abilities and sent to a palace for training. Her talent is unique and may hold the key to end the war that has beleaguered their country for a century and eliminate the Fold. The twisty twining plot goes to unexpected places in this beautifully crafted world.