Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha Trilogy #1
Published: 7 June 2012
Length: 240 pages
Warnings: violence, romance 12+
Other info: It’s called Shadow and Bone in America. The next two will be called The Shadow Fold and The Darkest Light (I think).
Summary : 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?
Review: Alina is an orphan who discovers she has a magical power-she can summon sunlight at will. Her summoning abilities mean that she is pulled into the Ravka’s Grisha-the magical elite. The leader of the Grisha is called The Darkling-amazingly powerful and more than a little seductive. He and Alina are destined to save Ravka from the Shadow Fold-the darkness where monsters live. But, while Alina’s falling for Darkling, she’s also thinking of Mal, her childhood friend who is now a soldier. Predictably, their paths cross and they go on a journey full of adventure. And danger.
I don’t often read pure fantasy without lots of horror or sci-fi mixed in. I do enjoy them though. This is definitely a fantasy based book. It comes through in the names, the writing (it’s all very descriptive) and the book as a whole is the kind I like when I want something between relaxing and scary.
There’s a nice little mix of characters. Alina undergoes a lot of development and learning, and I quite liked her. My favourite character was Genya-although she was horrible to start with, I ended up liking her by the end as she reveals her fun nature as you get to know her. Mal was ok. His devotion to Alina was really nice, but he’s not the type of main male character that I really really like. And Darkling-he was just so annoying. And arrogant. And manipulative. I really didn’t like him.
The Gathering Dark is a deceptively short book. A lot happens in it though, many of which you will not see coming.
The world building is slow, subtle and full. You get a really good idea of the court, and the way the magical society works. It’s impossible to place exactly in time and location, but I still really enjoyed it.
Like many books, It would have done ok without the love triangle. I was for Mal all the way, and Alina’s feelings for The Darkling were unnecessary, especially when he wasn’t that good anyway. Oh well. What other people like.
Overall: Strength 4 tea to a good fantasy novel that I’d really like to see what direction it goes in for the next novel, The Shadow Fold.