The Witch of Duva by Leigh Bardugo
Prequel to the Shadow and Bone trilogy
There was once a monster in the woods of Duva. Little girls would wonder in and be eaten. No one knew who the monster was or where it came from, but Nadya’s father is getting married to the monster… or so it seems. Nadya finds herself in the woods with a witch… who could be the monster just as much as the one hiding in her house. I love folktales. There’s just something about folktales that always entrance me and make my palms sweat and my heart race with wonder. As a child, Hansel and Gretel was one of my favorite stories. A witch in the woods who fattens kids up with sweets and eats them was horrifying, but I couldn’t get enough of the story. Bardugo loosely bases this Ravkan folktale on this children’s tale. If you haven’t read the Shadow and Bone trilogy, Ravka is the setting of the trilogy. I really enjoy the corporation of a folktale into Ravka society. I love to learn little things about fantasy worlds because that’s what makes the world. Reading about a story that centers on a folktale told around Ravka to scare children makes the world seem solid and real.
This short story is absolutely gorgeous. The writing is beautiful. The story is shocking. That’s saying a lot since this story is only 43 pages. I can’t say more than that because I don’t want to give anything away. Just know that this story is beautiful and it’s worth the read whether you’re a fan of Bardugo or just in want of a quick story with substance.
Cover Thoughts: I love this cover. It’s so stunning and gorgeous. The Tor.com story always have the best artwork.
You can read this story online free here
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
First in the Grisha trilogy
Ravka is a nation torn into two by the Black Heretic who created the Shadow Fold, a sea of darkness with horrifying features looking to feast on human flesh. Alina lives the life of a mapmaker for the army. When she enters the Fold and her best friend, Mal, is attacked she finds a power within herself. She’s a Grisha, but not just any Grisha. She can summon light- branded as a Sun Summoner and the counterpart to the Darkling. Alina enters royal court. She learns that nothing is what it seems in this new world fueled by deceit and strategies that have Ravkans’ lives on the line. A review for Shadow and Bone is long overdue.
The main female character is Alina. I love Alina’s backstory. Something about reading it was interesting and compelling. I loved her moments in the castle and discovering who she was not only as a Grisha but as a person. Alina is strong and resilient, but she is also caring. The thing I like most about her is that she knows she isn’t the most beautiful girl in the world, but I also wish she had more confidence in realizing that she must be beautiful to attain to very attractive men’s attentions.
Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 8.5
The main male characters are Mal and The Darkling. Mal… I was conflicted at first. I admit I didn’t like him very much. Mostly because he was too charming (I’m still not his biggest fan), but I also loved those last sweet moments of the book before the shit hit the fan again. He is hard not to like, but with the way Siege and Storm is going Mal is losing his touch.
Swoon Worthy Scale: 7
The Villain- Ah, the Darkling. I would be lying if I said the Darkling wasn’t my favorite thing about this novel. The Darkling is just so powerful, cunning, evil, vindictive, charming, and I love him. I shouldn’t love him because he can be so cruel, but I love him. It’s probably unhealthy, isn’t it?
Villain Scale: 9
Swoon Worthy Scale: 10
I love the complexity of all the characters in this novel. Characters like Genya are my favorite. She was a great character and I don’t want to go into too much detail because then I would spoil it.
Character Scale: 8.5
I think this novel is amazing and I highly recommend it. If you haven’t picked it up yet, give it a shot because it is entertaining and a fun adventure to go on. Plus it will give you feels. How can you say no to that?!?
Cover Thoughts: I love this cover! It is so beautiful and now that I’m reading the second book I just realized that Morozova’s stag’s antlers are on the cover and that gives me feels. This cover is beautifully done.
The Tailor by Leigh Bardugo
1.5 in the Grisha trilogy
This a short story told from Genya’s point of view set during Shadow and Bone. I loved Genya quite a lot in Shadow and Bone. I thought her character was great. She had a lot of layers.(That could also be a pun because she’s a tailor and it’s cold in Ravka.) Anyway as a short story, I thought this was fantastic. There was character development and a little plot twist from Shadow and Bone that was further elaborated. I think Bardugo has a gift of writing great characters. I want to hate Genya, but I can’t. I like her too much. And Darkling. That man is horrifying and beautiful. Like Tate from AHS.
Cover Thoughts: I want to attend the palace and walk through the halls. It sounds so beautiful.
You can read this story free online here.
What are your thoughts on the Grisha trilogy? Are you a fan? Let me know down below in the comments.:D