The Bright and The Pale Readalong Day 1!

Gorgeous photo by @zoe_livres_et_chateaux

Hello Fairy Friends!

It’s day 1 of our The Bright and The Pale readalong. Are you excited? I sure am!

Before we get started, how are you all doing? I hope your week is off to a good start. Did you read any good books at the weekend? Let me know!

As today is the 1st day of our readalong, we’ll be reading Chapter 1 to Chapter 6. Grab a drink, a blanket and get cosy, it’s about to get really cold in here! When you’ve finished today’s section, catch up with me in the comments down below so we can discuss the beginning of the book!

Please be warned, the following section will include spoilers for The Bright and The Pale by Jessica Rubinkowski, from chapter 1 to chapter 6. Please only read on if you have finished this section!


Well, wasn’t that a dramatic start!

We meet Valeria, the sole survivor of a freeze that came from Knnot Mountain, leaving her entire village, Ludminka, trapped in ice. She’s been taken in by Luiza, who runs the Thieves Guild. Our little thieve loves Luiza, who promises to keep her safe. That is until she sends her out on a job . . .

Valeria is a Zladonian, hunted down by Storm Hounds, a military group who were created to track down her people and put them in prison for fear of the plague they are rumoured to carry. It is nothing but a myth, but the Czar uses it to rule them with a tight fist.

Instantly, by the start of Chapter 2, we’re on quest: break into the Royal Vestry and steal lovite to sell to a Bright God champion who needs it to overthrow the Czar.

What could possibly go wrong?

Velaria breaks into the palace easily, only to be stopped by Brother Gavrill who recognises her! 

Inside the palace, she sees images of The Bright God and The Pale God, one good, one evil. Valeria feels a strange sensation as she passes The Pale God’s image . . . what does this mean?

We find out that Valeria has been set up and soon she’s racing across rooftops to escape from the Storm Hounds. She’s captured by someone unfamiliar . . . who else is feeling super tense?

Unconscious, she dreams of the ice freezing her village and circling around her. After she wakes, she meets Ivan and Chinua who tell her that Alik, her best friend who she watched die a year ago, is alive.

Ivan tells her that if she goes back to Ludminka and leads them through Knnot, he will let Alik go. She agrees to travel with him, but they encounter Czar and Valeria has never felt so helpless. She wants to help overthrow the Czar, but before she does, she has to face Alik.

What do we think will happen next?

How do you think Valeria and Alik’s first meeting will go? What are your first impressions of the characters?

That was an such action-packed opening and I’m so excited to read more!

I’ll be back again tomorrow with more thoughts.



59 thoughts on “The Bright and The Pale Readalong Day 1!

  1. My first impression when I started to read about Valeria and Alik partnership was “oh boy, we have here Celeana and Sam in thief’s version”! The whole situation how much Valeria is devastated by his dead and do what she can for Luiza is for me “Throne of Glass” vibes.

    I really like Valeria, she is smart, but in the same time she tries to handle all feelings which life gave her: lost family, lost the best friend and leaves alone between people who wants to catch her. Did Valeria skills remember you as well Inej from “Six of Crows” with her ability to hide in the shadows?

    Luiza is a little slippery and I don’t trust her. If she wants to fight with the champion against the Czar, how it’s possible that Brother Gavrill recognized her.

    Alik is alive, well it was in the synopsis, so I’m not surprised at all, but I’m really curious how he will be behave. Valeria promisise herself a lot and I’m wondering that she won’t be disappointed, if he will push her back.

    So far the journey through Knnot to Ludminka sounds interesting, but for Val it will be a hard journey.

    1. I noticed parallels between Valeria and Celaena too and made a note like, “a healthier adarlan’s assasin trope”… but now I’m not so sure with Luiza. I now think she might be more like Arobynn than she let’s on. But omg I had not even connected Sam and Alik but you’re so right, it is so similar ?.

      1. Cassandra, yes I agree with you about Luiza. She is Arobynn in the skirt. Xd

    2. Throne of glass was exactly what I was thinking, with Luiza as an Arobynn Hamel type character…

    3. I totally agree with you! I feel Sam and Celeana as well as Inej. And i love it!

    4. Hi Anna! I love the connections you’ve made to Throne of Glass, I never thought about it but now that you’ve mentioned it I can see it. I like Valeria too, I think she’s a really interesting protagonist. I’m really keen to see how Alik reacts, and if it will go smoothly or leave Valeria hurt.

      1. Nicole, it was my first thought: “OMG, ToG alternative version in alternative world”.

    5. I agree that it definitely feels a lot like Celaena and Sam, with Luiza most likely being someone I distrust… Arobynn

    6. I didn’t even notice those parallels!!! I love it! Yes I don’t trust Luiza ??‍♀️

  2. Hello Nicole, hello everyone!
    So much has happened, and I already have a theory. Well, two actually.

    We know the guild mistress plan to rob the Czar has failed spectacularly, and it strikes me as odd. And also the fact that Ivan knew where Valeria would have gone, and that there were no checkpoints to get out of town is just…very convenient. 
    So here’s my theory: there is no Bright Champion, no rebellion brewing. Somehow the Czar knew about Valeria, and he has orchestrated everything to force her to return to Ludminka and get the lovite for him.
    And I also suspect Val is the Pale one’s champion.

    I’m curious to see where this will end and to meet Alik of course!

    1. I also think she’s the pale ones champion! I hadn’t considered the Czar behind everything, but I theorized that Luiza might be…maybe they’re working together? Idk but I feel no one is who they seem on the surface (which is honestly fascinating).

    2. Hmmm ….. Interesting theories. ?

    3. Really interesting, I was thinking that maybe Ivan was the Pale God’s champion stepping into where the Bright god’s champion would have been but I like your theory better!!

    4. Wow, I love this theory, it would definitely create some interesting plot twists along the way! Looking forward to reading more today 🙂

    5. Great theory. I agree I think she is the champion for the pale one.

  3. I love the start of this – a knock on the door means trouble or work…she prefers the duvet, like the rest of us! The intro to Luiza as a mother figure and their relationship is really sweet, a real contrast to their actual job! Valeria is painted in great depth, and her backstory is delightfully chilling (sorry…), and then her past is brought strikingly back, just as she meets the horrific present face on at the tyur’mas. I am glad the day’s reading was only up to here, as there was a lot to process so far, but excited for the promise of a good quest ahead!

  4. Just from first impressions, something is definitely up with Luiza and I don’t trust it. Ever since Luiza said, “I do love you. You know that, right? All I’ve ever tried to do is what is best for you.”, I’ve had this sense of foreboding…I think she’s behind me than we know.

  5. Hello everyone!
    Lots of questions after these first chapters!
    Why is Chinua there? Where is Luisa, did something happen to her. Did she tell Ivan about Valeria? Why didn’t Alik contact Valeria, let her know he’s still alive?? Why didn’t Ivan take the lovite Valeria stole? Or did he?? And so on…
    So far I like the story and can’t wait to read how Alik will react to Valeria.
    Not sure what I think of the characters, I like Valeria but the others I’m not so sure. I think I do like them but I’ll have to get to know them a bit more first.
    See you tomorrow!!

  6. These first few chapters definitely gave me hooked. I like Valeria and Luiza’s relationship but I feel like Luiza might’ve been involved in Valeria getting kidnapped, she was behaving strangely and it seemed like she was saying goodbye?
    I think Ivan might be working with out on behalf of the Bright God champion. He seems sympathetic to the plight of the Zladonians. Maybe he participated in hunting them shortly after the freeze, or at the very least he allowed it to happen without voicing any objection.
    I really like that Valeria keeps labeling herself as a coward. It gives her character more space to grow, likely leading to her having to be very courageous at the end of the book.
    I’m interested to see how the reunion goes between Valeria and Alik. I really don’t know how it’ll go ?.

  7. This was an interesting start. I’m not sure we have enough of an emotional attachment to Valeria to really get behind her yet. I can see how the world in the book is a total mess, I just don’t feel it in my bones yet. I’m sure that’s still coming. Not sure what to make of the Alik situation yet. We shall see.

    Also, just to say the Fairyloot edition is so pretty! The sprayed edges are perfection!

    1. That´s also what I felt. I would like to know her better.

    2. Agreed on all points! I’m not sure if I’m really attached to any part of the book yet. But also, not even 100 pages in so that’s understandable.
      Yes! I’m really split on my guesses about Alik, there’s so many ways that situation can go.. also not sure what my hope is for how the Champion fits in.

  8. I can’t wait to meet Alik-if he’s even still alive. I really hope it’s not a trick!

    I like Valeria, she’s a pretty cool main character so far. I can’t wait to learn more about Chinua, we don’t know a lot about her yet. So far, though, I’m really liking this book! <3

  9. Hey!

    It was definitely an interesting start. I find that the set-up makes Luiza seems suspicious, as well as Alik not writing. Maybe he knows something about Luiza.
    I also think maybe Valeria is the Pale one’s champion. The freeze didn’t touch her when it did most others.

  10. I can already feel the cold in my bones, and just when the cold is letting go here… but I love it so far! I definitely don’t trust Luiza though, think she is the one who tipped off Ivan

  11. This is a strong start to the story! I’m super intrigued to see what will happen next as Valeria and Alik are reunited. I’m also convinced that Luiza knew the whole mission would go south and that was why she was so insistent that Val knew she loved her – I’m sure she actually planned all of this. Just a feeling, but the insistent way she reminded Val of how much she loved her… yeah, that instantly made me think she knew she wouldn’t be seeing her for a while.
    Also, Chinua seems really sweet so I’m looking forward to learning more about her! I’m excited to read on tomorrow.

  12. It´s an interesting start and honestly, the story could go anywhere from here. I´d like to know Valeria better. We´ve already seen and read a lot, but haven´t really ´experienced´ her, I guess? Anyway, curious to see what´s next!

  13. It was an interesting start, but I still need more time to get attached to the characters. Valeria has good potential for great character development, I feel. It will be fascinating to see where the story takes her. Is it bad, I kind of like Ivan, I know he is bad and kidnapped her, but I feel he might be a good character we can trust. On the point of trust, I have a bad feeling about Luiza; with the little, we can see, her whole character sound suspicious.

    Is it only me or anyone who feels a map would have helped a lot? Whenever a new place is mentioned in the book, I am craved to find it on a map and understand where they are. Maybe I have been spoiled with books with maps in the past month 😀

    Thank you for hosting this read-along, Nicole!!

  14. Really loving this so far. Love the world it feels very different. Definitely getting Celeana vibes from Val!
    Can’t wait to see what will happen next!

  15. My first impression is that we cannot trust Luiza, I mean come on who else could have possibly betrayed her??? Does this mean that there is no actual Bright God champion or will they too be untrustworthy. I’m super interested in learning more about Valeria’s scar on her wrist and am wondering if this is some kind of “God” marking, as we have already seen from the flashback that she was impervious to the frost plague’s touch, which must mean she has some kind of hidden powers or kinship to the Pale God.
    I think all will be well between her and Alik when they meet despite her trepidation. Her memories of him, wanting her to run away to save herself, paint him as selfless so I don’t think he will harbour any resentment.

  16. I am liking the beginning so far. It gives me some East European vibes, (more Wicked Saints than Grishaverse).
    I cannot wait to find more on the world-building because the whole Knnot thing is so mysterious and, in general, I love stories with winterly vibes. I can’t look forward to see how the romance will be developed (there is always a bit of romance in novels like this) and if Alik will be the main love interest or just a friend for Valeria.

  17. The start of this book gripped me right away! A heist, a kidnapping, and then a quest?! Super interesting start!

    I like Valeria, se seems capable but also likeable, and I’m interested to see what her interactions with Alik are going to be like.

    I do not trust Luiza. The fact that she sent Valeria off on that already compromised mission? When it’s been repeatedly said that she’s the best and never lets mistakes happen? Seems super sketchy to me. Interested to see if I’m right!!

  18. Hello Nicole, Hello everyone !
    The first few chapters were very interesting and i really like the setting.
    I don’t really know how to feel about Valeria because on one hand she has good intentions and seems like a good person but on the other hand she is very impulsive, which you can see on p.57-59, and it’s probably gonna get her in a lot of trouble throughout the book.
    I really like Ivan. I feel like he actually cares about Alik because Chinua mentioned that he talked about him so much.
    I think Alik probably changed a lot and his alliance now is with Ivan and not with Valeria.
    I absolutely do not trust Luiza. On page 9 she says she’s only loyal to herself so it makes no sense for her to hide Valeria as it is such a great risk. I’m also convinced that she planned for Valeria to get caught because she acted weird when she send Valeria on her mission. I think she wanted to make sure that Valeria stays loyal to her when she got caught and that’s why she said those things.
    Lastly, there is definitely a reason she was untouched by the ice when the freeze happened and i think it has something to do with the pale god. I know it’s a little early for theories but i think she could be the pale gods champion.

  19. I wasn’t sure if I would like this book but after that beginning I’m very excited to keep reading! I really love Valeria; she seems very strong and courageous. I just hope she doesn’t allow her guilt about Alik get to her or what happened to her family. I hope she uses that anger and it makes her stronger! Everything seems to be moving very quickly and I hope her reunion with Alik is sweet and amazing! But I have a feeling there might be some issues!

  20. My first readalong and it has been awesome. Loved that we already know so much about this world in the first few chapters

  21. So far so good! Love that it’s fast paced and that we’ve already learned so much about Val without dwelling on the particulars. It’s well written and I really like the story of the Bright and the Pale gods (myths and origin stories are always my fave when written well).

    There are some very clear similarities to other book series which I’m hoping we deviate from quickly, just to get a fresh and exciting spin on what has potential to give some wonderful characters.

    Val clearly has some special, underlying power and can’t wait to find out a little more about that and also about Ivan, who I don’t think is quite as commodity driven as he first seems.

    It also helps that every time I flick pages, I see the beautiful shimmering blue!

  22. It’s only the beginning and I’m already hooked!
    Valeria is quite taff and hasa storyto tell. So excitedwhathappens when she meets Alik.
    I really like Ivan. I hope they get along

  23. I just decided to join the readalong:) the first chapters were definitely action packed and I’m interested to see where it all goes!

  24. Finished day one!

    So far I am honestly pretty indifferent to the Bright and the Pale. Its not bad, but its not really bringing anything new to the table either. I suspect that the Bright champion might be someone Valeria already knows? Perhaps even Alik himself!

  25. I went into The Bright and Pale without knowing much about the book. It’s definitely a solid start to a book, equal in action, information and mystery. I’m curious as to the direction and path we will take through this book. Loved starting with a heist, we can never go wrong with those.

    I can’t wait to learn more about the characters and meet Alik because I’m sure there will be some amazing twists to come

  26. New week, new book, (new me?). I’ve finished reading “Spin the Dawn“ by Elizabeth Lim last week and it’s one of the best books I’ve read in 2021. I adored its fairytale-like magical vibes… the book feels like a Ghibli movie ♡ Hopefully you’re all doing fine. Alright, I just read the first six chapters and.. well, that was freezing (sorry) it’s very cold for May and the first chapter made the air feel even colder. Jessica Rubinkowski has a way to describe these moments/feelings (I hope that sentence makes sense). I love the relationship between Valeria and Luiza, but I was very suspicious about her – Luiza that is – (isn’t it strange how we are immediately suspicious of kind or good characters… but maybe it’s just me). I’m very curious about Alik when he was first mentioned I thought “what if he doesn’t actually exist“ what if he’s just an illusion? (which would be a bit wild).

  27. Hi everybody!! Hope you are all having a fabulous day (or HAD a fabulous day, depending on where you live)!! ❤️

    This book got right into the action, didn’t it? We start out with Valeria on a cold winter night and the Thieves Guild’s leader coming to her with a mission! It sucked me right in!

    Totally agree with Anna here – Luiza and Valeria gave me Sam and Celaena from Throne of Glass vibes ? I also agree with Sputnik.books about Val being the Pale champion (if they do, in fact, exist).

    I think their meeting will be very . . . awkward? I mean, after a year of not seeing each other and Val leaving him behind . . .

    We shall see, I suppose. Looking forward to reading more of this amazing story (so far) tomorrow!!

  28. Hi everyone!
    I was holding my breath the whole time! I had to read pretty slowly because there is a lot going on here! I definitely do NOT trust Luiza. She is going to betray her if she hasn’t already!! I’m also digging the idea of Valeria being the Pale God’s champion. How do you become a champion? How will Alik respond? We’re they really just besties or are they lovers!!!? It’s so much… I’m ready to keep reading!

  29. Hi everyone,
    So the first few chapter’s have me hooked.
    I like Valeria’s character at this point, seems strong for one so young.
    I’m leary of Luiza, seems a bit suspect to me.
    I’m not sure how I feel about Ivan yet.
    Can’t wait to get to the point when she see’s Alik again.

  30. Hi Nicole and everyone!
    I haven’t had time during the weekend to read, so I was really looking forward to jump in and start this book!
    I like the book so far, Valeria is an intriguing character! I’m very suspicious about Luiza, I don’t think she was honest with Valeria… I don’t have any strong feelings about her two new companions.
    I think the first meeting between Valeria and Alik won’t go too well, but maybe they’ll reconcile later.

    1. Oh and I’m curious if there really will be champions for the Brother Gods!

  31. I love it when books are action packed from the start. I’m too lazy for a slow start. I don’t think I read the blurb on this book, just knew it was wintery. It seems to have a lot of things I enjoy in a story… a heist, thieves, a rebellion brewing, characters of dubious character. I’m looking forward to seeing this story unfold

  32. Reading your comment gets me on ToG wibes to I did not notice that before

    When Brother Gavriell knew who she was I got the feeling that Luiza betreyed her but why?

    I cant wait to read what happens when she sees Alik again its getting do exciting

  33. But can we start discussing the next set of chapters yet? Because, what the heck is happening?! I can’t wait to see what others are thinking now.

  34. Hello everyone !
    I like Valeria for the moment but I don’t know what to think about the others but it’s just the beginning. She discovered that her best friend Alik is alive and I can’t wait to see how their reunion will be !

  35. Seems intriguing so far, interested to see what’s going to happen.
    I definitely think there’s something dodgy with Luiza.

  36. I really loved how this book started off so fast paced, so much so I didn’t even realise I surpassed the daily chapters and reached chapter 8!

    I love Val and Alik’s relationship already, so I can’t wait to see how it develops. I also have this feeling that Luiza was the one that betrayed Val and also destroyed those letters….

  37. Hi all, I like the story so far. Valeria is an interesting character and I wonder how she survived the freezing of her village. I loved the bonding moment between Valeria and Luiza but the ending was a bit strange. Why was it so important to let Valeria know she loves her. I have the feeling Luiza is going to betray Valeria and is part of the bigger scheme with brother Gavriell and Ivan. I found it strange Ivan kidnaps her but doesn’t take the loveit she already stole……

  38. WOW! I’m loving this book so far! It’s fast paced and overall really enjoyable.
    I’m not sure if im super invested in any of the characters just yet… but we’re only a few chapters in. I have no idea where this could go there are so many ways this could play out.. I’m LOVING everyones theories tho! I do think a few people are seeming a bit suspicious tho ?

  39. Oh boi.
    So i dunno how to feel about Valeria so far, i’m not sure if i like her or not but i’m very intrigued that her friend is still alive!! Even though i wonder – he was practically slaughtered? So if he is alive, he might be not very mobile anymore, it feels like Ivan has hinted something like that already. But then again Alik should also come along to their journey so maybe i’m wrong with that. Also it’s suspicious that he didn’t contact Valeria so far. So hm, connecting it to the whole mission failed thing, maybe Luiza… isn’t as nice and motherly as they made us think she is, maybe that’s also why Alik isnt in contact at the moment cause he doesnt want Luiza to know. it really seems odd that the mission which seemed bulletproof failed so miserably so yeah.

  40. Hey Everyone!

    This weekend I finished A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness! It was really good, and I’m looking forward to watching the TV show as soon as I finish the second book! Has anyone else read it?

    As for The Bright and the Pale, I am really enjoying the atmosphere so far! I love the weather, and I got a slight Throne of Glass feel of being chased by soldiers and trying to find a safe place with a guild.

    I think Sputnik.books’s theory about Val being the Pale One’s champion has a lot of potential! I can’t wait to see why the ice didn’t come after Val.

    While there are a few things I find strange about Val’s logic about why she is doing certain things, I am looking forward to unravelling the world’s mysteries!

  41. Ahhh thank you so much for using my photo!!! I love this book very much so far, and already I’m excited for book 2 🙂
    Thank you for hosting the readalong. It’s also a good thing to come back to read when the next book of the series releases, to be back on track with the details again 🙂

  42. I really am liking the writing style and am very intrigued! I’m a little late to post this comment but I have just finished The Crown of Gilded Bones Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout not too long ago so that’s my excuse?
    But I am very intrigued and can’t wait to read more! Not sure how I feel about Ivan yet and not sure how much he should be trusted but I’m really excited to meet Alik and find out how he feels about being left a year ago. I hope he doesn’t hold it against her

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