The first 50 percent of this book was iffy for me. Like three star iffy, with the potential to be way lower. Why? To be blunt, if there is anything I cannot STAND it's a cringing, whiny, "woe is powerful me" female character. Really, you have more power than God himself and you're afraid to even TRY IT??? Ridiculous! If I had kick ass powers, you bet your butt I'd be using them.I'd be using them all over the place! Even the REASON why she was afraid was a little sketchy for me. Thankfully, Bardugo swoops in before there was another Eon incident(Don't even get me STARTED on the whining cringiness in like 80% of that book!) and things roll along (not smoothly. Not possible with the Darkling around.) at a nice pace until the end.Was the book predictable? Yes. Was the Darkling a little too "I'm a sad and lonely man disguised as vampire type immortal disguised as a magical creature disguised as a complete MONSTER"? Yes. (Note: I'm not saying he IS a vampire. I'm just saying... well, the guy is immortal, all powerful and likes darkness. You do the math.)Still, the world was amazing and fun and imaginative and unlike most of the YA worlds I read in traditional fiction... this was was a joy and very enveloping. I honestly felt transported. And since being spellbinding is pretty much all I require in a good book, this one gets 5 stars from me, even with the somewhat annoying beginning.