Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Grishaverse #0.5
Publisher: Tor Books
First Published: June 5, 2012
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Fantasy, Horror, Short Stories, Young Adult
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 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.
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 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 by 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 play an integral part in 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 magic with just a touch of horror and it makes me curious to read more books in the Grisha universe.
“There was a time when the woods near Duva ate girls.”
Trigger Warning: Violence, Implied Sexual Abuse