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Book Review: The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo

The Gathering DarkTitle: The Gathering Dark 
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha Trilogy, #1
Pages:  442
Publisher: Indigo
Date of Publication: 7th June 2012
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.

My Thoughts:
This book was amazing. Seriously, I thought it was brilliant. Gah, you need to read it. It's sooo good :D

Right, okay, gushing over. I'll coherently start this review now. Basically, I wasn't sure what I would think of this book when I first got it. It's fantasy, and also, my proof copy is huge. Being not a fantasy fan and somehow having developed an aversion to all books that are over 450 pages, I wasn't really all that excited about it, despite the proof being absolutely stunning (and it looks nothing like the UK cover shown above. Nothing like it.). I don't really know why I requested it - probably because it was getting good reviews and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about...

Anyway, as I said, I'm not a fan of fantasy. I don't get it. Some people are obsessed with books like Lord of the Rings, Eragon and Game of Thrones, but I just don't see the appeal. I always try and read them, thinking I'll love them, and then I don't and it's frustrating because I want so much to love them like everyone else but I don't... Anyway, I'd read some reviews saying this was a good read for people who want to like fantasy but don't, so I read it, and oh my goodness me, I am SO GLAD I did! It's not too high fantasy that people like me get bored or are uninterested, but it's got enough fantasy that I think fantasy fans will be satisfied... If that makes sense.

I really liked the world in which the story takes place. I liked the idea of having The Shadow Fold - a vast, impenetrable land of monsters and darkness. Alina has to do what she can with her new found power for summoning light to try and destroy this Shadow Fold - before it eats up the rest of the world in which they live. I liked learning about all the different kinds of Grisha, and finding out about all their different powers and the hierarchy between them. I thought the world building was great, if a little info-dumpish at the beginning (I got confused super quickly) but after a while it leveled out and I found it was easy to keep up with everything that was going on.

I really liked Alina. I thought she was very sweet - if a little unheroine-ish... Pretty sure that's not a word... Anyhoo, she was modest and very unbelieving in herself, and it kind of annoyed me but I also thought it was cute. She didn't realise her power and she then couldn't even bring herself to use it, and then once she did she only used it for good and didn't go power-crazy or anything, like other characters may have done. My favourite character though, by far, was Mal. Seriously, Alina, are you blind?! How could you NOT realise how freaking awesome he is?! I don't know why I love him so much. I just do - he's just great :')

The plot was exciting and fast paced, and it kept twisting and turning in different directions and it was so good! It was a bit confusing at times but there was nothing a quick reread of the last few pages couldn't fix, so that wasn't really a problem. I can't wait to find out what happens in the next book!

Overall, The Gathering Dark was a huge surprise, but an amazing one at that. I can't believe Leigh Bardugo is a debut author - this book was *that* good! I'd recommend this to fans of YA fantasy and paranormal, or if you're looking to read some fantasy that's exciting and good but not too high and fantasy-ish. If you don't think it's your 'thing' but you're interested in the plot, go for it - it might surprise you like it did me.

*Huge thanks to Indigo for sending me this in exchange for an honest review! In no way has this affected my opinion of the book. 


  1. I loved it too! Squeee! Totally brilliant.

    Also just squeeing over your header and the fact you made it yourself!!!!

  2. I keep seeing wonderful things about this book! I really must find a copy.

  3. I need this book so much!!! High/Epic fantasty isnt my thing but this sounds so good.

  4. Agreed with fantasy not being my favourite but I still enjoyed it. It's amazing what giving something a chance when you normally wouldn't can do.

  5. Heard so much good stuff about this book..will have to read it next I think!!

  6. Ah, this book sound great and I love this cover! I'm glad that you liked it so much ^^ Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  7. I absolutely love this book! The cover is excellent too! Fantasy story complete with adventure and mystery.
    A must have book for book lovers.


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