The Gathering Dark (Paperback)
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DescriptionThe 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.
- Published: 17 May 2012
- Format: Paperback 320 pages
- ISBN 13: 9781780621104 ISBN 10: 1780621108
- Sales rank: 144,010
Reviews for The Gathering Dark
- Top review
The Gathering Dark (Shadow and Bone) is a book that almost passed me by. The Shadow and Bone cover didn't attract my attention and the blurb didn't appeal to me at all. But when great review after great review kept coming, I began to wonder what I was missing out on. And I was missing out. This is a fantastic fantasy story.
Alina and Mal grew up together in an orphanage and are best friends, but lately, Alina's been starting to feel something more. Mal is a tracker in the first army and Alina is a cartographer or map maker.
When, after saving Mal's life, she finds herself being brought in front of the Darkling, the most powerful Grisha in Ravka, life as she knows it is about to change. She is ordered to the Little Palace under armed guard, without getting a chance to say goodbye to Mal.
She discovers she has powers she wasn't aware of. When she was only eight years old, so that she wouldn't be taken away from Mal. But now, it has opened up a whole new world for her. She's part of the Grisha. And she may be the answer to Ravka's biggest problem, The Shadow Fold, a patch of complete darkness, where the volcra lurk, waiting to feed on the human flesh of those trying to travel to West Ravka. She is their salvation, but she is also in danger of having her power abused.
Alina and Mal belong together, that much is obvious, but she seems to be drawn to the Darkling, the most powerful man in Ravka, and probably, the most feared and dangerous too. And as much as I loved Mal, I was also drawn to the Darkling. He's beautiful, powerful and mysterious, a very charming villain.
Alina is a tough character. Having grown up in an orphanage, and never feeling as though she belonged, has prepared her for when she finds herself among the Grisha, still not feeling like she belongs and finding herself acquiring the attentions of the Darkling. I loved the way she spoke to him, seemingly unable to hold her tongue despite any fear she might feel towards him.
We see two sides of Mal. The before Alina was taken away, a fun, humourous boy who was a bit of a ladies man. And after, he's hardened and more serious, circumstances of the last five months having taken effect. But, I felt we started to see a lighter side to Mal again towards the end.
At the beginning, I felt there was a lot to take in, with the different names and skills/ranks of the Grisha. But I used post its along the way and that kept me clued in. And after I'd finished reading the book, and checked out Sam's review, I discovered this pronunciation guide to Ravkan which would have come in handy while reading. Also, I couldn't get my head around the descriptions of the Kefta, so I went online to see what they looked like and discovered this awesome guest post over at Karin's Book Nook describing them perfectly.
I'm really glad that I eventually picked up this book as I really enjoyed the characters and the world that Leigh has created. If you haven't read it yet, do your best to pick it up soon. Book 2, Siege and Storm releases on the 4th June. I can't wait! by Suzanne Finnegan
First line: "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."
Last line: (too spoilery).
Favorite quote: "I'd catch myself just walking around to find you, not for any reason, just out of habit, because I'd seen something that I wanted to tell you about or because I wanted to hear your voice. And then I'd realize that you weren't there anymore, and every time, every single time, it was like having the wind knocked out of me."
Alina Starkov and Malyen Oretsev were both orphans that grew up together at a nice Duke's orphanage. When they were old enough, they left to train for their military service. Alina as a cartographer and Mal as a tracker. But their regiment had to first cross the Shadow Fold before they could get to the Sea.
Alina is completely in love with her childhood friend, but Mal hardly even seems to notice her anymore. He has become very handsome and popular with girls, and Alina... well, she's become taller, but still looks like she did as a child. Skinny, pale and ghost-like.
Along for the ride to the Shadow Fold are the Grisha, practitioners of the 'Small Science'. They are people who have special powers and are treated like royalty. They are also very attractive.
As soon as they get to the Fold and darkness engulfs them, the volcra attack. They are horrendous beasts with a thirst for human flesh. The Grisha and the soldiers try to attack them as best they can, but there are still many casualties.
When a volcra gets too close to Alina, Mal rushes over to protect her, receiving a very serious injury to the chest. Alina throws herself over him to try and shield him from the volcra hovering close by, but when the volcra reaches for her, Alina feels something inside her shift and then suddenly there is light. Brilliant, magnificent light all around them. And the volcra can't fly away fast enough. Alina passes out.
The minute she comes to she knows something is wrong. First of all, there are rifles pointed to her head. People are looking at her strangely. And the Darkling, the most powerful and oldest Grisha around wants to see her. He claims that she is a Sun Summoner. And the only hope to end the wars and destroy the Fold. No pressure, right?
Alina can't wrap her head around being Grisha. She is nothing like them! They're beautiful, she's not. They have been studying the 'Grisha ways' ever since they were 5-years-old, and she hasn't. But most importantly... she is one of a kind. Just like the Darkling.
Now Alina has to learn how to control how powers and pay very close attention to the people around her. Are they friend or foe? Should she trust them? Shouls she believe everything they say? Should she allow herself to fall for one of them? And, is Mal still alive? Does he hate her now? Does she care?
Oh, man. Now that was a good read.
Don't you just love it when nothing is as you first expected? Leigh Bardugo is a complete genius! Her writing is enrapturing, her characters captivating, and the plot is absolutely mind-boggling! There is NEVER a boring moment. NEVER, I say!!! (Okay, I'll go easy with the iltalics and bolds from now on, I promise). When you finally start to get things (especially the russian vocab) and like certain characters... BAM! They slap you in the face with betrayal! (Alina's face, I mean.). :P
And as you get closer to the end, you have to control yourself not to blow up from all the tension. Or pluck all your hair off. Or scream with frustration. Oh, and no matter how intense things get, you have to remember to blink. (I had to apply teardrops more times than I can count, simply because I just wanted to take everything in as fast as I could, and all the blinking was totally slowing me down. LOL.).
Really, the only thing I still have to say to you is: Go ahead and pre-order this baby right now! You will not regret it. :)
If you enjoy great books with tons of adventure, fantasy magic AND sweet romance, then the odds are: you'll go bananas over Shadow and Bone, just like I did.
* I was lucky enough to receive an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.* by Karla Vollkopf
A Phenomenal Debut
What a wondrous, thrilling, fast-paced debut! The Gathering Dark, also known as Shadow and Bone, was my airplane book on a recent holiday, and I absolutely loved it. Aside from being what I would call a great book, it also seems like it would hold mass-appeal. Those two things don't often meet.
Throughout the book, I didn't get that annoying feeling of having read about similar characters before. Alina, Mal and the Darkling are phenomenal characters, and I relished getting to know all the secondary characters along the way.
The structure of the novel worked really well - I've come to find that this has a huge influence on whether or not I enjoy the novel. For a fantasy novel, The Gathering Dark is not particularly long, and the plot isn't convoluted or unnecessarily drawn-out. We're thrown right into the thick of the story from the start and that leaves no time for info-dumping, boring character introductions or any other nonsense. Bardugo is a wonderful, concise storyteller.
The world building is fantastic in that it is easy to follow and makes sense. You'd think that would be a given in any book, but you'd be wrong. So many books sacrifice solid world-building for a smouldering romance. Bardugo balances both. I was intrigued by the Grisha and I can't wait to explore that world more in the sequel.
"This was his soul made flesh, the truth of him laid bare in the blazing sun, shorn of mystery and shadow. This was the truth behind the handsome face and the miraculous powers, the truth that was the dead and empty space between the stars, a wasteland peopled by frightened monsters."
Even if you don't normally seek-out fantasy novels, but enjoy interesting characters, touching romance and spine-tingling plot (and who doesn't?) then give The Gathering Dark/Shadow and Bone a try. by Ebony Cindric
The Gathering Dark
Terms such as 'The Shadow Fold', 'Ravka' and the 'Grisha' intimidate me. I don't really know why, but they made me think that this book was going to be some sort of epic fantasy or something really complicated. However, I've been surprising myself this year by picking up things I wouldn't normally read. I knew I had to read this book after reading so many positive things about it - and oh my, I am so glad that I did!
I opened the book and saw a list of the Grisha - Corporalki, Etherealki and Materialki - without much explanation as to who they were. You guessed it - I was confused already. I'm one of those people who has to have a reason for everything and has to know why things are how they are. Anyway, making notes of these terms, I started reading and I was no longer confused. This book is not confusing in the least when you get into it. If you're a little bit scared about being thrown into a book that has some foreign words in it, don't be. There are some non-english words in this book, but it is so easy to know what's being talked about - it just adds to the authenticity of the story. Bardugo's writing is fantastic. Within a couple of chapters, she managed to have me completely absorbed into this other world - in Ravka and its inhabitants.
I loved meeting Alina, our main character, and the boy she grew up with, Mal. I thought their relationship together was really well shown - it's clear that they have a very strong bond together and have gone through bad times and good. They worked very well together as a team and I can't wait to see what happens with them next. There were quite a few interesting characters that were already well formed by the end of this first book and I am looking forward to seeing what happens to them, too! I absolutely loved Genya, a girl that Alina befriends at Os Alta, where the leaders of Ravka reside. I thought that the pair had a friendship that felt genuine - Genya was just the type of girl I'd have liked to have met if I'd been in Alina's shoes. I thought that the minor characters, or the characters we didn't see/hear much of were just as important as the main characters in this book, feeling strong and each having their own purpose.
The action in this book is mainly centred around The Shadow Fold, a very dangerous place for all of the people in Ravka, especially those who try to cross it. The Darkling, one of the most important people in Ravka, has his own ideas about The Shadow Fold and it's interesting to see what he's really like when we find out more about him during the book. There was just the right amount of action in this book for me - there wasn't constant physical battles, but there was always something happening, most constantly the internal battles of Alina. I thought that learning about the Grisha and their supernatural talents was super interesting and one of the highlights of the book for me.
This book may sound dark, and I guess it is, but there is also a lot of humour - I was really surprised with how much humour was in this book, actually. The snarky remarks of some of the characters really made me laugh and made me take a shine with them. This was a really well-developed, captivating story with good world-building. I am hoping that this is a series that will have consistent quality as I can easily see it becoming one of my favourites. Fans of Young Adult literature will eat this up. I can't wait to read the next book! by Stephanie Forster (Stepping out of the Page)