The Witch of Duva

The Witch of DuvaThe Witch of Duva
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Grishaverse #0.5
Publisher: Tor Books
First Published: June 5, 2012
Genres: Horror, Young Adult
Pages: 54
Format: Webpage


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.

My Thoughts

I had been meaning to get around to reading something by Leigh Bardugo due to her popularity in the YA community. Though I had already picked up the original Grishaverse trilogy, I found this companion story on the Tor website and decided to give it a try. I am so happy that I stumbled across this short because I was honestly blown away.

“There was a time when the woods near Duva ate girls.”

The Witch of Duva is a dark fantasy about a harsh winter and the mysterious disappearances of young girls in a small village. The tone of the story is overwhelmingly atmospheric as Duva is brought to life. The whispers of an evil lurking in the woods left me with a sense of dread from the very start all the way to the story’s denouement. Even with the premise I was surprised with how dark this story ended up being.

The Witch of Duva reads like an old fairy tale, with characters and creatures pulled straight from Russian folklore. There are a lot of descriptions of food that I had started to think was just filler, but then realized that food and eating plays an integral part of the story. I fell in love with the food-based magic in this story which was different from the kind of magic that I’m used to seeing in fantasy stories. All in all, I was really impressed with this short story. It was the right amount of magical with just a touch of horror and it makes me curious to read more books in the Grisha universe.

Let’s Discuss!

  • Are you a fan of the Grishaverse novels, and have you read the short stories?
  • How do you feel about authors writing additional shorts to go with their world – fun or cash grab?
  • Can fairy tales be scary?

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