Saturday 16 June 2012

The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo

Pages - 437
Published by Indigo in May 2012

The servants called them malenchki, little ghosts, because they were the smallest and the youngest, and because they haunted the Duke's house like giggling phantoms, darting in and out of rooms, hiding in cupboards to eavesdrop, sneaking into the kitchen to steal the last of the summer peaches. 
Goodreads Summary
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee. 
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. 
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.
You can't write a review of this book without commenting on the gorgeous cover! It is absolutely drool worthy and I fell in love with it long before I read the synopsis for the book. Luckily the gorgeous cover suits the gorgeous  writing and I was bowled over by this book. This enticing tale of darkness and light took my breath away with its uniqueness and originality.  I was left wanting more. 
At the heart of this book, is  a beautiful love story. As soon as Alina and Mal appeared on the first page, I was drawn to them. The  unrequited love that Alina has for Mel made my heart melt. He doesn't see how she feels for him for quite some time and you feel so sorry for her. They were just made to be together. I loved the way their relationship developed throughout the book, how their relationship became stronger with each hurdle they faced.  I have to admit to be strangely attracted to The Darkling throughout the book. He was so dark and mysterious in an evil kind of way. 
The world building in this book was amazing. The originality left me astounded. The great detail in which the world had been built left me in awe of the author's talent. I was worried that some of the terminology would be lost on me, but within the first couple of chapters  I knew exactly who was who and  understood their positions in the Grisha. The Grisha really appealed to my inner magician. I loved how naturally powerful they were.  I  don't think I have ever come across anything like the Shadow Fold before. The sound of impenetrable darkness is extremely eerie. The creatures living in it, sounded vicious and frightening. 
I loved the Russian flavour to the book.  Not a country I know a lot about, but the evidence was clear. On reading the acknowledgements it became clear which Russian tales had inspired such a beautiful tale. 
I felt like I fell into this book and was lost from reality until the final page; a sign of a talented story teller who draws the reader in and sucks time away from them. 
I can't believe I have to wait so long for the next book. I simply must know what happens next. 


  1. I'm glad the writing does justice to the cover and is also gorgeous.

  2. Great review! This book has definitely sparked my interest, thanks for the recommendation :)

  3. Ok, so I'm ordering Gathering Dark now, Vivienne! Off to TBD right after leaving this comment. You're usually right when it comes to great books ;)

  4. Sounds good to me :D I like that the aspect of Russian tales as we do not get that often..ok not at all. And I do love fantasy

  5. I keep seeing wonderful reviews of this book, it will have to go on my wishlist now!


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