One of many children orphaned by Ravka’s border wars, Alina Starkov has spent her life being underestimated and overlooked. But when her regiment is attacked on the Shadow Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—and that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free.
If I told you I’m trying to save the world, would you believe me?
Malyen Oretsev is a gifted tracker and Alina Starkov’s best friend. Both orphans and raised together on a Duke’s estate, Mal and Alina were inseparable during childhood, but drifted apart as Mal became a rising star in the First Army. When Alina’s power puts her on a collision course with the most dangerous forces in Ravka, Mal will have to choose between the life he’s built and the friend who stood by him when he was nothing.
I’m sorry it took me so long to see you, but I see you now.
The Darkling is the leader of the Second Army, a magical military elite comprised of Grisha and tasked with defending Ravka. Charismatic and gifted with unparalleled power, he has spent his life trying to find a way to destroy the Shadow Fold and undo the damage done to Ravka by one of his ancestors. He believes Alina could be the answer he’s been seeking.
Fine, make me your villian.
Genya Safin is a Tailor, a hybrid Grisha who has the power to alter people’s appearances. Because of her unique gifts she has been placed in service to the Queen of Ravka, a situation which has isolated her from other Grisha and made her an outcast among her own people. When Alina arrives at the Little Palace, it is Genya who welcomes her and becomes her close friend and confidante.
Because I am a pretty thing and a soldier all the same.
A talented Squaller in the Second Army, Zoya Nazyalensky holds a position of power and influence and takes status among the Grisha seriously. Ambitious, arrogant, and talented, Zoya revels in games of power, but she is also courageous and forms her alliances based on a strong sense of what she believes is right. She is not a threat to be taken lightly.
I don’t want to live in darkness.
Nikolai Lantsov is the younger son of the King and Queen of Ravka. Instead of accepting an officer’s commission as most people of his class do, Nikolai chose to serve in the infantry of the First Army and developed a loyal following among common soldiers. He has a love of gadgets and new inventions, and spent much of his life away from court training with shipwrights and gunsmiths.
Anything worth doing always starts as a bad idea.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes…
Kaz Brekker is a criminal prodigy who made his name on Ketterdam’s streets by turning the Dregs into a gang to be reckoned with. Cunning, quick-witted, and a born leader, he’s a planner who leaves nothing to chance. Known as Dirtyhands, he doesn’t need a reason to break a leg, sever an alliance, or change a man’s fortunes with the turn of a card. But Kaz always has his reasons, and there might be more to him than most people realize.
Brick by brick, I will destroy you.
A spy known as the Wraith…
Raised in a family of acrobats, Inej Ghafa was taken to Ketterdam against her will at 14 and spent a year in captivity at the notorious Menagerie. Now known as the Wraith for her ability to slip in and out of almost anywhere unseen and unheard, she works as a spy for the Dregs, gathering secrets and blackmail material from the most powerful players in the city. Her faith is deeply important to her, and her knives are named after her Saints. People frequently underestimate her, but they never make that mistake twice.
The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums…
Nina Zenik is a Grisha Heartrender working as a Tailor in Ketterdam’s House of the White Rose. A soldier of Ravka’s Second Army, Nina dreams of returning home to fight for her country. But she has a score to settle in Ketterdam and she’ll remain in the city until she makes amends for a terrible choice. Loud, flirtatious, and opinionated, Nina never hesitates to speak her mind and has a healthy appetite for the finer things in life. She’s a natural actress and her gift for languages makes her an essential addition to Kaz’s crew.
You wouldn’t know a good time if it sidled up to you and stuck a lollipop in your mouth.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
Originally from Novyi Zem, Jesper Fahey came to Ketterdam to study at the university…until he discovered the city’s gambling dens and fell into serious debt. Rarely seen without his pearl-handled revolvers, he has nearly perfect aim and thrives in high-risk situations. He is always the first to crack a joke to ease the tension—or hide his true feelings.
Here’s the secret to popularity: risk death to save your compatriots from being blown to bits in an ambush. Great way to make friends.
A convict with a thirst for revenge…
Matthias Helvar is a former drüskelle, a Fjerdan soldier trained to capture and execute Grisha—a mandate he considers holy. He’s spent the last year imprisoned in Hellgate, trying to survive and dreaming of revenge against Nina for the betrayal that put him there. Matthias lost his family to a Grisha attack at a young age and his prejudice against Ravka’s magic wielders runs deep.
The water hears and understands. The ice does not forgive.
A runaway with a privileged past…
Though no one knows what drove him to it, Wylan fled his comfortable life among Ketterdam’s wealthiest families to take up residence in the city’s slums where he’s barely eking out an existence. Wylan would rather be playing music than building bombs, but his knowledge of chemistry makes him the valued demolitions expert of Kaz’s crew. Despite his talents, he often doubts himself, and his kindness and morality make him ill-suited to life in the Barrel.
Duping innocent people isn’t something to be proud of.
Sun Summoners are members of the Etherealki. They have the ability to summon and control sunlight.
Heartrenders; Healers; Tailors
Ravka is surrounded by enemies and basically operates as a garrison state. For most of the life of the Second Army, the Corporalki were considered its most valuable soldiers, and consequently, were the highest ranking Grisha. A Corporalki Heartrender can snatch the air from your lungs, slow your pulse until you drop into a coma, or literally crush your heart in your chest—all without ever laying a finger on you. Healers put you right again. Tailors have the ability to change their appearance and the appearance of others—sometimes permanently depending on the talent of the Tailor.
Squallers; Inferni; Tidemakers
Grisha cannot create or animate matter. Inferni don’t “magically” create fire. They summon combustible gases like methane or hydrogen, but still need a flint to start a spark. Squallers can raise or lower air pressure to create storms, while Tidemakers use temperature and pressure to summon and control water. Etherealki frequently work in pairs. Both the Darkling and Alina are technically considered Etherealki.
These are the lab geeks of the Grisha Orders. They’re the least respected, but they became increasingly valuable to the war effort as enemy military innovations began to surpass the power of Grisha magic. Durasts deal in the solid: Grisha steel, corecloth (similar to modern body armor), textiles, and glass. Alkemi specialize in poisons and blasting powders.