Alina Starkov  

The Sun Summoner and protagonist of the story. Brought up in an orphanage at Duke Karemsov’s manor alongside her closest friend, Mal, Alina serves as a mapmaker in the First Army but is discovered to be the Sun Summoner, a powerful Grisha capable of manipulating light. Alina is initially described as mousy and unremarkable, but her appearance changes after she learns to use her power. Alina has a scar on her hand from an incident in her youth. She is strong-willed but lacks confidence in herself and her abilities.  

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Malyen “Mal” Oretsev 

A skilled tracker and Alina’s oldest friend. Mal grew up alongside Alina at the orphanage. Mal is described as being unusually handsome, catching the eye of many young women in Ravka, much to Alina’s consternation. Mal is remarkably good at tracking, capable of finding creatures and people that others cannot. He begins the novel as a light-hearted, affable person, but grows much more serious after Alina is taken away by the Darkling.  

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The Darkling 

The leader of the Grisha and the antagonist of the novel. Known only by the moniker “the Darkling,” he is a centuries-old Grisha with the ability to manipulate shadows and the darkness. He is also an amplifier who can manipulate and augment other Grisha’s powers. He is incredibly handsome, with dark hair and grey eyes and is described as having a “pull” that draws other Grisha to him. He is politically savvy and cruel, a master at manipulating the people around him.  

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An elderly Grisha teacher and the Darkling’s mother. Baghra is described as being incredibly old but having an eerie sense of youth about her. Baghra is intense, savvy, and bombastic. She loves her son but is determined to ensure he cannot attain his goals.  


A Grisha with unique abilities to manipulate a person’s physical appearance. Genya acts as a servant to the Queen but wields a unique social power as a result of her proximity to royalty. She is looked down on by many of the other Grisha that live in the Little Palace. Genya is unnaturally beautiful and has perfected her appearance using her power. She has red hair, golden eyes, and fair skin. 


A talented Grisha Fabrikator. David is described as having messy hair and being quite thin. David is single-mindedly focused on his work at the Little Palace, but willingly works for the Darkling to further his plan for the Grisha by creating the amplifier out of Morozova’s stag’s antlers. He is in a relationship with Genya.  

Botkin Yul-Erdene 

A Shu Han warrior and martial arts teacher at the Little Palace. Botkin is described as a middle-aged but physically capable man with grey hair. Prior to his work at the Little Palace, he travelled the world fighting for whoever could afford him. He has an accent when he speaks and is known as a stern teacher.  

The Apparat 

The religious leader of Ravka. The Apparat is an old man with a long beard and priest’s clothing. He has a peculiar, unpleasant smell that reminds Alina of a tomb. He is intense and aloof, and speaks cryptically to Alina about the role she’ll play in the future of Ravka.  


A high-ranking Corporalnik and guard for the Darkling. Ivan is tall and broad-shouldered, with wavy brown hair and tan skin. Ivan is rough, mean, and serious. He is dedicated completely to the Darkling’s service.  


A Squaller with the Second Army and rival to Alina. Zoya has black hair and blue eyes and is described as being almost as beautiful as Genya. Zoya singles Alina out because she’s jealous of the attention Darkling is giving her, having once been his “favorite.” 


An Etherealki Grisha training at the Little Palace. Marie befriends Alina but Alina sees her as shallow and self-absorbed. Marie has long, curly brown hair and pale skin. 


An Etherealki Grisha training at the Little Palace. Along with Marie, she tries to befriend Alina. Apple cheeked and possessing a toothy smile, Nadia is a gossip. 

The King 

The King of Ravka. Described as having virtually no chin and broken blood vessels across his nose, the King of Ravka is looked down on by the Darkling. He is excitable, impolite, and shallow.  

The Queen 

The Queen of Ravka. The Queen is aging but fixated on preserving her appearance. She’s described as having perfectly coiffed blond hair and eyes that are too blue to be real. She is petty and pretentious.  


A talented junior cartographers’ assistant and friend of Alina Starkov. Alexei is serious and curious about the Grisha. 


A Corporalki Grisha training at the Little Palace. Sergei is self-important and asserts the Grisha hierarchy more than once. He is broad-chested and has deeply tanned skin.  


A tracker and close friend of Mal’s. Mikhael is large and has red hair. He is the one who nicknamed Alina “Sticks” for being skinny.  


A tracker and close friend of Mal’s. Dubrov is thin and has dark hair.  

Fedyor Kavinsky 

A Grisha Corporalki. Fedyor is lanky and fair-haired. He’s friendly and curious about Alina’s powers.  

Ana Kuya 

The housekeeper at Duke Karemsev’s estate and overseer of the orphanage. Described as “birdlike,” she is high-strung and quick to anger.  

Duke Keramsov 

A noble Ravkan who houses orphans at his manor.