“This was his soul made flesh, the truth of him laid bare in the blazing sun, shorn of mystery and shadow. This was the truth behind the handsome face and the miraculous powers, the truth that was the dead and empty space between the stars, a wasteland peopled by frightened monsters.”  

In the narration of Chapter 22, Alina considers the way that the Shadow Fold mirrors the truth of the Darkling when exposed to her light. Seeing the Fold filled with her light for the first time, Alina understands that the Darkling and the Shadow Fold are one in the same. The light itself acts on a metaphoric level, illuminating the Fold while also enlightening Alina to what the Darkling and his creation have in common. Alina defines both by emptiness and monstrosity. She understand the Darkling better for having seen the Fold in her manifested daylight. Where once she saw him as a complicated, powerful man, she sees him as someone fundamentally empty save for the monstrous parts of him. Crucially, Alina sees these monstrous parts as frightened as she’s come to see his motivations driven by some deep fear that she does not name. The most important takeaway from this moment in the text, however, is less about what Alina sees in the Darkling and more about what she is finally able to see in herself. It is her power that produces the blazing sun that lays him bare and strips him of his mystery and shadow.