I'm on the fence with my rating for this between 2 and 3 stars... This almost was another [b:Legend|9275658|Legend (Legend, #1)|Marie Lu|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1333909141s/9275658.jpg|14157512]-y "déjà-lu" for me, while having some more redeeming qualities to it.(Also, it inspired me to finally learn the Cyrillic alphabet, a task which I've been wanting to tackle for the longest time but by which I have always felt too intimidated to tackle, so this is a great thing, I guess.)I definintely believe this would have been more engrossing and magical if the whole thing had been written in the third persion and not from a first person narrator's perspective. The world was pretty generic and the story could have taken place anywhere; just randomly throwing in some exotic-sounding words (and implementing even implementing partially incorrectly) doesn't make for an atmospheric setting. But not only the world building itself was pretty shallow but also the characters felt flat; a shame, since there was so much potential for an intricate history and background as well as major and minor conflicts between the different players. Characters' motives for certain action were beyond comprehensible and more than once some plot twists merely seemed contrived.Also, I could not have cared less for the middle part of the book which I felt was particularly ridiculous and enraging it its shallow stupidity, dragging on way too long for my taste (and which is also the reason for me tending to give it only 2 stars).Then again, there are quite a couple of scenes which allow for vivid imagery and an atmosphere of magic, the romantic (and the sometimes somewhat erotic) scenes are well-done, and the scenes on the Shadow Fold were surprisingly extremely atmospheric, dark and scary, and lingered on my mind quite some time even after reading.Last but not least, the map in front of the book did not seem to match the desriptons of the journeys undertaken in the story (locations and scales), but that could have simply been due to my skewed imagination.All in all, I had expected much more than I got, but it wasn't too awful, and when it managed to entertain me it managed to do well, so I think I will stay around for book #2 for which I've got my hopes up.