The Gathering Dark/ Shadow and Bone
by Leigh Bardugo
Rating: 1 Stars
‘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…’
So, my low rating of this shouldn’t really surprise you all. As I’ve been bemoaning my disappointment all over my blog for weeks. Six of Crows was such a brilliant book and I was hoping for more of the same here. Sadly, this was not the case.
I had a feeling going in that the Grisha trilogy wasn’t going to be quite up my street (I hear the dreaded words Love Triangle and I run the other way at speed) but I was willing to give it a shot based on my experience with Bardugo’s other work.
I wanted to like it so badly guys, but it wasn’t good. The characters felt flat, the plot was very thin on the ground and The Darkling was a whiny megalomaniac in need of a good slap. It’s very hard to believe that it was written by the same author who created the wonderful banter and complex motivations of Kaz’s gang. The only thing I can say for it was that I did read it fast, but it was in a kind of horrified astonishment, vainly hoping that it would get better. I’m sorry to say that there is little else I can say in it’s favour.
As I’ve said before, I began to doubt how much I’d loved Six of Crows. But a speedy reread thankfully confirmed that it is the marvellous book I thought it was.
Had I read this one first, there is no way on earth I would have read her other work, which just goes to show you shouldn’t write off an author based on one book. I don’t know if I’ll read the other books in the trilogy or if I’m just setting myself up for further disappointment. But I will continue to recommend Six of Crows to just about anyone I talk to and I am still really looking forward to the release of The Crooked Kingdom later in the year. Please let it live up to Six’s standards!