The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo

Monday 3 June 2013.
The Gathering Dark (The Grisha, #1)
Published: 7th June 2012
By: Indigo
Source: Library copy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Gathering Dark (Shadow and Bone) is a book that almost passed me by. The Shadow and Bone cover didn't attract my attention and the blurb didn't appeal to  me at all. But when great review after great review kept coming, I began to wonder what I was missing out on. And I was missing out. This is a fantastic fantasy story.

Alina and Mal grew up together in an orphanage and are best friends, but lately, Alina's been starting to feel something more. Mal is a tracker in the first army and Alina is a cartographer or map maker.

When, after saving Mal's life, she finds herself being brought in front of the Darkling, the most powerful Grisha in Ravka, life as she knows it is about to change. She is ordered to the Little Palace under armed guard, without getting a chance to say goodbye to Mal.

She discovers she has powers she wasn't aware of. When she was only eight years old, so that she wouldn't be taken away from Mal. But now, it has opened up a whole new world for her. She's part of the Grisha. And she may be the answer to Ravka's biggest problem, The Shadow Fold, a patch of complete darkness, where the volcra lurk, waiting to feed on the human flesh of those trying to travel to West Ravka. She is their salvation, but she is also in danger of having her power abused.

Alina and Mal belong together, that much is obvious, but she seems to be drawn to the Darkling, the most powerful man in Ravka, and probably, the most feared and dangerous too. And as much as I loved Mal, I was also drawn to the Darkling. He's beautiful, powerful and mysterious, a very charming villain.

Alina is a tough character. Having grown up in an orphanage, and never feeling as though she belonged, has prepared her for when she finds herself among the Grisha, still not feeling like she belongs and finding herself acquiring the attentions of the Darkling. I loved the way she spoke to him, seemingly unable to hold her tongue despite any fear she might feel towards him.

We see two sides of Mal. The before Alina was taken away, a fun, humourous boy who was a bit of a ladies man. And after, he's hardened and more serious, circumstances of the last five months having taken effect. But, I felt we started to see a lighter side to Mal again towards the end.

At the beginning, I felt there was a lot to take in, with the different names and skills/ranks of the Grisha. But I used post its along the way and that kept me clued in. And after I'd finished reading the book, and checked out Sam's review, I discovered this pronunciation guide to Ravkan which would have come in handy while reading. Also, I couldn't get my head around the descriptions of the Kefta, so I went online to see what they looked like and discovered this awesome guest post over at Karin's Book Nook describing them perfectly.

I'm really glad that I eventually picked up this book as I really enjoyed the characters and the world that Leigh has created. If you haven't read it yet, do your best to pick it up soon. Book 2, Siege and Storm releases on the 4th June. I can't wait!

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Purchase links: The Book Depository/Amazon


Suzanne (Parabooklover) said...

Alina and Mai sound great together, thanks for the review

Suzanne (Parabooklover) said...

Yeah! So happy to see that you loved this one as well. It was one of my fav reads of last year. Incredible world building, great characters and just a good read.

Suzanne (Parabooklover) said...

I felt the same way about Mal and The Darkling, and it was exactly what Bardugo intended, so mission accomplished. I actually listened to this one and liked the audio a lot, so that's probably what I'll do with the second book. The narrator was extremely pleasant. I'm glad it's just around the corner now. :))
Great review, Suzanne!

Suzanne (Parabooklover) said...

So excited for the sequel! Mal and Alina definitely belong together but The Darkling is a charming villain. Curious to get to know him more. And I could never picture a kefta either and frankly got really tired of seeing the damn word 70 times. LOL

Suzanne (Parabooklover) said...

Yay I'm so glad that you finally decided to give Shadow and Bone a try Suzanne. I'm not normally one to read fantasy books, so completely overlooked this for ages. But I think you've timed your reading of this book right perfectly, as you can pick up Siege and Storm right away! Lovely review!

Suzanne (Parabooklover) said...

I thought there was a lot to take in at the beginning too in terms of the world - I know I kept getting confused by the colours of the Grisha and what they meant - but it just all came together eventually and I ended up falling in love with this one. I can't wait to read Siege and Storm either!

Suzanne (Parabooklover) said...

I didn't think I'd like this one either Donna. But after seeing amazing review after amazing review, I decided to give it a go and borrowed a copy from the library. I loved it! I had to buy my own copy straight away lol. So, I would say give it a go :)

Suzanne (Parabooklover) said...

I'm with you, I really had no interest in this until I saw how everyone loved it. Now I'm totally curious even though it sounds like something that might be a miss for me.

Suzanne (Parabooklover) said...

This is a favourite of mine, as you know, so I'm so thrilled that you gave it a shot and ended up enjoying it! I can't wait to see what you think of Siege and Storm now. :) Brilliant review, Suzanne.

Also, I'm looking forward to your thoughts on Crown of Midnight! I still can't stop thinking about it!

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