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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Blog Tour + Contest: Guest Post - Leigh Bardugo (Author of Shadow and Bone)

I'm today's Blog Tour Stop for Leigh Bardugo's SHADOW AND BONE. I'm so excited she agreed to share with readers her favorite aspect of writing SHADOW AND BONE. I adored this book and hope that you will check it out!

Leigh Bardugo was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. She indulges her fondness for glamour, ghouls, and costuming in her other life as makeup artist L.B. Benson. She lives in Hollywood and can occasionally be heard singing with her band, Captain Automatic.Her debut novel, Shadow & Bone, is the first book in the Grisha Trilogy and will be published by Holt Children’s/Macmillan in June 2012. She is represented by Joanna Stampfel-Volpe of Nancy Coffey Literary.

Style Schism

When I got into research for the world building for Shadow and Bone, I was sometimes surprised by where inspiration would come from. I knew that, in the late 1600s, Peter the Great had instituted a series of westernizing policies designed to "modernize" Russia and make it more like Europe. Not only did he restructure the military and government, he forced noblemen to shave their beards and abandon their traditional caftans for western dress. They were to speak French, adopt French fashions, and follow a German guide to etiquette that Peter adapted himself.

What I learned from Orlando Figes' Natasha's Dance was that a schism developed between public and private life. For instance, the reception rooms of an aristocrat's palace might be done up in the lavish style of marble and mirrors favored by the European nobility and the Tsar. But the private rooms were kept small and cozy, often decorated in a more traditional Russian style. But the disconnect from Russian culture grew greater until, by the 1800s, many aristocrats could speak French and German fluently, but stumbled over the scant Russian they had learned from their serf nannies and servants. Some couldn't write in Russian at all.

Peterhof Ballroom

This division between private and public, between Russian and European styles inspired the divide between the two courts of Os Alta, the capital of my fictional kingdom of Ravka. The Grand Palace, seat of the King and Queen and home to the royal court, was inspired by the Catherine Palace and the Grand Cascade at Peterhof. Its vast rooms, mirrored walls, and elaborate parquet floors echo the Russian Imperial style.

The Little Palace, home to the Darkling and the Grisha court, sits on the grounds of the Grand Palace, but it could not be more different. Its architecture was inspired by Russian monasteries, while its interiors—the tile ovens, the brightly painted furniture, the lavishly carved walls—are meant to evoke the peasant style. Even the Grisha uniform, the kefta, is based on the caftan.

Church of the Transfiguration
Lux caftans from the Kremlin Armory

This division in style gave the two palaces of Os Alta distinct identities. It also let me visually mark the Grisha desire to distance themselves from the excesses of the Ravkan monarchy in what they consider a populist gesture. But through Alina's eyes, we see that, regardless of their intent, the Grisha are as removed from the realities of peasant life as the royal court.

Some research is directed—names, climate, the specs of a repeating rifle. But I always found that the most interesting ideas, the ones that ended up having a real impact on the narrative and feel of the story, were also the most unexpected. 

SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date: 6/5/2012
Pages: 368
Age range: 12 - 17 Years
Series: Grisha Trilogy Series
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

 Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

 Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.
Other Links:
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Leigh Bardugo on Tour for Fierce Reads:


Winner will recieve 1 copy of  SHADOW AND BONE 
Rules: 1 Winner! 

Please fill out this FORM!

Contest ends @ 11:59pm (CST) June 122012. US & Canadian Residents only.

For more chances to win: Please visit:

Shadow and Bone Blog Tour Schedule:

Monday 6/4             

Tuesday 6/5            

Wednesday 6/6                 UK Blog Tour Stop
Thursday 6/7           
Friday 6/8               
Saturday 6/9                     UK Blog Tour Stop
Sunday 6/10           
Monday 6/11                     UK Blog Tour Stop
Tuesday 6/12          
Wednesday 6/13               UK Blog Tour Stop
Thursday 6/14         
Friday 6/15                       UK Blog Tour Stop
Saturday 6/16         
Sunday 6/17           
Monday 6/18                     UK Blog Tour Stop
Tuesday 6/19          
Wednesday 6/20     
Thursday 6/21                   UK Blog Tour Stop
Friday 6/22             
Saturday 6/23         
Sunday 6/24           


  1. So interesting to hear about Leigh's world building. I'm like dying to read this. I so hope I win.

  2. Wow. What a vision! I love all the images that make up Shadow and Bone. :D

  3. I have heard so many great things about this book. I must get a move on a get grab a copy.

  4. I love, love, LOVE when a book sucks me in like that! That's the best recommendation you could possibly give me! I'll be keeping an eye out for this one the next time I want a fantasy books.


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