Review: ‘The Witch of Duva: A Ravkan Folk Tale’and ‘The Too-Clever Fox’ by Leigh Bardugo

‘The Witch of Duva: A Ravkan Folk Tale’

Blurb from Tor.com:

There was a time when the woods near Duva ate girls…or so the story goes. But it’s just possible that the danger may be a little bit closer to home. This story is a companion folk tale to Leigh Bardugo’s debut novel, ‘Shadow and Bone’. This story was acquired and edited for Tor.com by Henry Holt Books editor Noa Wheeler.

Review:

OMG, this gave me actual chills. This story is creepy, atmospheric, so rich in detail and description it almost hurts. Reading it feels like holding a precious child in your hands. One thing is for sure- I will NEVER look at gingerbread or red ribbons in the same way again. (In fact, the scene where Nadya watches Genetchka dancing in the barn could well be one of the best things I’ve ever read. EVER. I also loved how resourceful and brave Nadya was- how observant, how loyal to both her father and her brother. And OH MY GAWD the way Bardugo describes Duva, this little village deep in the heart of Ravka…simply stunning. FLAWLESS. It is profoundly moving at points (SPOILER– the part with the gingerbread baby? So sparse and poignant, it cut me to the bone.) I also loved the way in which (Minor spoiler) the reader is led to wonder who is the ‘real’ witch of Duva- Nadya’s step mother with her too-irresistible orange cakes, Magda, the mysterious woman Nadya meets in the woods, or even Nadya herself? Although quite long for a short story, this is without a doubt worth it. Reading this left me hungry for more (perhaps even hungry for gingerbread…yikes!)

This story in four words: Chilling. Moving. Unique. Magical.

You can read it, for FREE (yes, really!) on Tor.com

‘The Too-Clever Fox’

Blurb from Tor.com:

In Ravka, just because you avoid one trap, it doesn’t mean you’ll escape the next. This story is a companion folk tale to Leigh Bardugo’s novel, ‘Siege and Storm’, the second book in the Grisha Trilogy, out now from Henry Holt and Co. This story was acquired for Tor.com by Henry Holt editor Noa Wheeler.

Review:

This is a wonderfully moody, atmospheric fairy tale, clearly inspired by the Russian folktales and mystery that made ‘The Grisha Trilogy’ and ‘Six of Crows’ so unique. It felt like a genuine folk tale, not something written by a contemporary author. It is meant to be a companion piece for Bardugo’s novel ‘Siege and Storm’- especially as ‘Too-clever fox’ is a nickname for Nikolai, one of her characters, however this is also just as effective when read on its own. In fact, this was a relatively easy read- wily, witty Koja was relatable and fantastically characterized- and the setting is vivid and escapist. I loved the darker undertone too, and the sense of menace in characters such as the hulk-like hunter, Jurek. The animals too, were funny, charming and clever. In short, it is a small gem of a book. It is clear that Bardugo is a highly talented writer, and best of all, this talent is also free to read on Tor.com.

This story in four words: Clever. Witty. Traditional. Atmospheric.

Overall rating for both stories: 10 out of 10 of course! 😀

The beautiful images are from sincerelysansa, wingedwolves and unhollywccd on Tumblr.com

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