4.5 starsThe Gathering Dark is fantasy at its best. Luckily I had the day off when I picked up The Gathering Dark so I was able to lock myself in my room and devour this book much to the annoyance of my sister who wanted a good natter. But you know that adrenaline rush when you get with certain books when your eyes are just gulping the words in a frenzied pace, that before you know it you’re already halfway through the book and you’re like how the heck have I read so much already? Your hearts thrumming against your chest and there is so much chaotic-ness going on around you, but you’re lost in a world where it’s just you and your precious book? This is exactly how my reading experience was with The Gathering Dark. When I first heard about this book I honestly didn’t pay it much attention, it was not my typical genre to turn to and so I wasn’t really sure whether it would be my thing. But my great blogging friends changed my mind and I’m so thankful for that, otherwise I would never have discovered this gem of a book.Alina and Mal are two orphans who’ve grown up together, they’re getting by in life, but everything changes when crossing the Shadow Fold and Alina makes a startling discovery. Alina’s ripped away from the life she’s known, taken away from Mal to Little Palace a world so different to what she’s known, she’s surrounded by beautiful Grisha, given a beautiful room, a kefta and spends time with the enigmatic The Darkling. She’s taught to make the most of her ability and promised great things.Alina found herself in an extremely difficult situation, but her character development over the course of this book paid off for the tough times she had to deal with. Initially she was a clumsy girl but developed into this strong, kick ass protagonist. But what I loved most about her was that despite getting everything luxurious thrown her way, she still didn’t forget who she was, where she came from and who mattered to her the most. At times she did find herself slightly distracted by The Darkling, but who wouldn’t?I seem to have this habit lately where I seem to be falling for the guy everyone else isn’t. First it was Warner and now The Darkling, don’t get me wrong I adored Mal, but The Darkling left the greatest impression on me with his big booming claps, dark velvety voice and his constant darkness, it’s bound to make a girl go crazy, his commanding remarks honestly sent shivers down my spine. And I know with the way things went, I should have jumped teams, but come on its The Darkling I won’t give up on him that easily.Leigh Bardugo has created a gorgeous book in The Gathering Dark, her world building is exquisite and writing is just effortlessly beautiful. I didn’t realise that it would evoke so many feelings in me all in one go! In a way I’m glad I picked up The Gathering Dark up, because it’s given me the extra encouragement to pick more fantasy books right away, but I’m also left a bit glum, as how I have to wait torturous months like everyone else for the next instalment!