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Title: The Witch of Duva - A Ravkan Folk Tale
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Year Published: 2012
Summary: 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.
I really love folk tales and fairy tales, and I was so excited to find that Bardugo wrote one that is told in Ravka. The world that she created in Shadow and Bone was already so rich, and I think that this story adds a little bit more depth and color to that. It does make me want more stories like this though, so I'm going to start hoping that there's going to something like a Grimm Brothers or Hans Christian Anderson collection of fairy tales that are told to Ravkan children.
Bardugo does an excellent job of taking a lot of the common themes in the folk tales we all know and love (missing children, scary woods, witches, evil stepmothers, grieving fathers, etc) and turning them into something completely new and different. The whole time I was reading this story, I felt like I was a Ravkan child listening to one of my parents tell me about Nadya and her story.
While the story is pretty straight forward, there are a couple of twists and turns that took me a little bit by surprise (although I totally should have seen it coming). I thought the pacing was excellent, and I spent most of the time reading this on the edge of my seat. I did think a few things could have used a bit more explanation, but I suppose that if Ravka were a real place and I had grown up there, it would have been fine.
I would definitely recommend this story to anyone who has read Shadow and Bone, and even to anyone who just enjoys reading folk tales or fairy tales. I think this story could totally stand on its own, but knowing a little bit about the Ravkans makes it just that much better. Plus, you have nothing to lose by reading it - you can read it for free! I would give this story a 4/5, and I'm looking forward to hopefully having more Ravkan folk tales to read as the other Grisha books come out!