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Review: The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo

The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo
Published by Indigo

Sweeping, glorious fantasy romance about an orphan who must save her kingdom from the seductive and terrifying Darkling. The most compelling romance since Twilight.

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.


The Gathering Dark is one of those books which draws you in entirely from the first page and doesn't let you go. Be warned the review for this one is going to be short mainly because I'm not quite sure yet how to put into words my thoughts and feelings on this one. Needless to say it is awesome and I thoroughly recommend it.

I liked that while this book was a fantasy novel it was accessible enough to someone who isn't into fantasy novels all that much. I think that was because the human relationships that feature in it are so realistic and natural that the scenes could have been played out anywhere and that gave me something to relate to. I loved Alina and Mal and seeing their relationship throughout the entire book right from back when they were children. I think, in hindsight, Mal was my favourite character and I loved him more and more as the book went on.

I liked the world the book was set in. As Alina gets whisked away into the work of the Darkling you get to see the new world through her own eyes. I think that also helped to make the book quite easy to get into as you weren't just thrown in at the deep end and left to get on with it but saw everything for the first time with Alina.

I loved that the book was pacey throughout. I found this meant the book was a particularly fast read as I found myself unable to put it down and needing to know what happened next.

All in all a book I really enjoyed and would recommend. Can I have book 2 now please?


serendipity_viv said…
I am really looking forward to this one!
I've read quite a few fantasty books this year but the gathering dark was deff one of my favourites. Glad you enjoyed it - great review :)
Alwyn said…
Completely dying to read this! Still waiting on my copy to arrive though.
I did not realize this had a different British title than US. I think I like this title more than the US Shadow and Bone.

I also agree that this is a very accessible fantasy-I don't read a lot of epic fantasy but this book was just my style.