Review: The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo

The Gathering Dark (The Grisha, #1)
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.

After seeing so many people rave about this book I finally got around to reading it, I picked up this book preparing to be blown away but it didn't quite hit me the same way it hit so many other people. I did enjoy this book and it definitely piqued my interest in the series but after being so excited after all of the five star reviews I felt a little cheated.

Now anybody that knows me will know that I am a massive fan of fantasy books, I read so much dystopian and paranormal but YA fantasy books are my true love because of the amazing world building and the fantastic description, which is where this book started to fall short for me. This book uses Russian sounding words but I didn't really get the vibe from the descriptions. We're also thrown into this world with it's terms and lingo and I struggled to understand what was what. I think I kind of have a grasp on it now, but I would have liked some things to be more clearly defined.

I did like Alina as a character because she was tough and proud, I also loved Mal who is swoonworthy and stoic and touch and romantic and even the Darkling was a well written slightly creepy but smooth fellow. I loved Genya, Alina's friend who was funny and sweet but is developed a little more later in the book.  The romance was also great - despite a kind of love triangle - because in the end there is a clear winner and I think the way that it was developed was essential to the plot.

The plot in this book was good. Not amazing, I wasn't blown away and there wasn't anything that was seriously original in fantasy but it kept me interested and I want to read more. The pacing fell at paces, this book was a slow starter, then it picks up, then the pace droops a little near the middle then it picks up again.

Overall, this book was kind of slow and didn't blow me away. I am interested in reading the sequel and I did like the characters and romance. I would have liked a little more worldbuilding though.

Overall Rating: B-

Book released June 7th 2012 by Indigo (UK). Book originally published in the USA as Shadow and Bone on the 5th June by Henry Holt and Co.
Book purchased by myself

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