Monday, 30 July 2012

Book review - The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo

(Now after the talk going around about using photos from the web and the potential of being sued I have decided not to include a photo here but you can find images here on Leigh Bardugo's website.)

Now I am going to try and not spoil The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo (Shadow and Bone to some of you) but just in case I accidently do, I AM SORRY! I TRIED NOT TO!! Lauren kept mentioning this book on twitter and after a while I got curious and asked what it was about and I am so glad I did.

From the cover:

I've been waiting for you for a long time, Alina,' he said. 'You and I are going to change the world'.

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the world of the kingdom's magical elite-the Grisha. Could she be the key to setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a man of seductive charm and terrifying power. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must 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?


The Gathering Dark is book one in the Grisha trilogy which is a YA Russian based fantasy set in Ravka, a fantasy world of magic and darkness. After reading the Hunger Games and Divergent which I thought had brilliant settings it was great to read yet another book in which the world building was strong. It feels darker those other books, I guess because of the magical element.

Ravka is a country at war, a land split in two by the Shadow Fold which is dangerous to cross because of the ravenous Volcra that swoop in to rip you limb from limb if you dare to try and make it to the other side. Alina and her fellow orphan Mal grew up together and even when they are undetaking their military service their childhood bond remains. In a voyage across the Shadow Fold danger strikes and powers she never even knew she had burst out of her. Alina is suddenly propelled her into a life with the Grisha and she finds herself being described as Ravka's greatest weapon against the Shadow Fold.

The Darkling, which I think is an amazing name for a character by the way, truly is seductive and he certainly has a way with words. I found all the characters interesting in this book and I really liked Alina. I went online to look at some reviews of the book and was quite amazed at how many people didn't seem to like her as a heroine. She doesn't start off strong, in fact she is very insecure and I think it is fair to say weak but I feel that means she has lots of room to grow and already in book one, she has grown. I like a journey and her journey is one I want to be on. Her affection for Mal is blatant from the start and I like how it is not done in a 'I never knew I had feelings for him' way. She acknowledges these feelings and the fact she does little about them in this book seemed to be a contenious point for many of the reviewers I read. They thought it was weak not to act on this but to me, this was what being a teenager was about. Telling someone you liked them? Brings me out in a cold sweat even at the age of 29! I could identify with her in this way and I look forward to seeing how the love stories in the trilogy develop. Contented sigh.

This is perfect for anyone who likes Young Adult fantasy and I for one can't wait for book two!

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