My parents separated for about six months when I was 15 years old. I had just barely begun to read things other than YA, and that was also the year I started writing in earnest. Now granted my “stories” weren’t full length novels, but they meant a great deal to me, and in some ways, they helped me a lot during that time in my life. I was uncomfortable and terrified. I didn’t even tell all of my friends what was going on, because I was scared – I didn’t know what was going to happen to my family. So instead…I looked for an escape – not entirely, just somewhere I could go for an hour or two a day to take my mind off of everything that was happening.
I found it one Saturday at the library.
I slayed – and saved – dragons with John Aversin. I forged a sword to defeat a dark lord with Bremen. I went on so many adventures with Rand, Mat, and Perrin. I traveled the world with Garion and Polgara. I traveled through the belly of the earth with Rhapsody.
Eventually, my parents worked through their issues, and got back together. Things went back to normal – the new normal – for me. We settled back into a routine, and we were all happy again. But something was different. – I – was different. I was a reader for life.
Even now, when I want to be transported, when I want to feel more than my heart can contain, I reach for a fantasy novel. I know that when I open the pages, I will rediscover the magic that each author has built. Though a great deal of the elements to fantasy novels are the same, I’m still amazed at the ways various authors bend and recreate those foundations to their purposes. It leaves me breathless, the worlds they create.
Just this year I’ve read several novels that have deeply touched my heart, and one of them was a fantasy novel – Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. It’s Leigh’s debut novel, and while I was initially excited (and flattered) to receive an ARC, it wasn’t until I read the first few pages of Shadow and Bone that I REALLY realized a) how much I’d MISSED reading fantasy, and b) this book was going to change me. This book was what I’d been waiting for. I read the first two chapters, sat back, and literally sighed with pleasure. See, I felt as if I’d come home, in a way.
Everything about Shadow and Bone struck a chord deep within me, from the gorgeous world-building of Ravka, to the amazing, stand-out characters, like Mal, Alina, and the Darkling, to the sense of mystery and awe thrumming under the surface of the Grisha society, and the deep well of feelings between Alina and Mal. Shadow and Bone hooked me from the opening
Even now, I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for ANY news on the sequel! I’ve been lucky enough to chat a little bit with Leigh on Twitter and she’s such a complete sweetheart, and SO great to her fans. I’ve tried to let her know – in some small way – what Shadow and Bone meant to me. It’s a story about danger, yes, but about HOPE, too.
And that’s what fantasy novels give me.
Molli, this is one of those posts that seeps right into the heart and tugs on the strings! You captured much of my thoughts on fantasy as far as why I love it so much and it's so gratifying to see another blogger who shares my feelings on the genre!
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Molli, I think I've mentioned how much I love Shadow and Bone, so I'm so happy you talked about how amazing it is! Comment below if you're eager to crush the Darkling or you're after a smooch with Mal.