Saturday, September 5, 2015

Review - The Demon in the Wood

The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha #0.1)
by Leigh Bardugo
Date: 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Reading level: YA
Book type: short story
Pages: 30
Format: e-book
Source: library

Before he ruled Ravka, before he was the Darkling, he was just a lonely boy with an extraordinary gift. In this prequel story to the New York Times-bestselling Grisha Trilogy, Leigh Bardugo takes us into Ravka's mysterious past, when Grisha lived as fugitives and the Darkling took his first steps on the path to power.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

For a short story, this was pretty good.  Not spectacular, but just okay.  You won't get much out of it if you haven't read the books of The Grisha trilogy, though; in fact, it will probably be rather confusing.

I did like seeing another side of the man who became the Darkling.  If this had somehow been included in the books themselves, it would have helped to develop his character more.  The events in this short little story help us understand him a little better; even so, I kind of wish there had been more.  This is such an early incident in his life, and although I can see how it would have driven him to do some of the things he did later on, there are still a lot of unanswered questions.

So, like I said: it was good, but not great.  It's worth reading, though, especially if you enjoyed the trilogy of full-length novels.

Quotable moment:

He understood then. The Grisha lived as shadows did, passing over the surface of the world, touching nothing, forced to change their shapes and hide in corners, driven by fear as shadows were driven by the sun. No safe place. No haven.

Premise: 3/5
Plot: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Pace: 4/5
Writing: 3/5
Editing: 4/5
Originality: 4/5
Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall Rating: 3.38 out of 5 ladybugs


  1. The Darkling has always been such a mysterious and intriguing character in the series, so it's great that Bardugo has written a novella that kind of shows us why he's so evil and why he does what he does. However, the fact that the event in this novella happened so early on in his life makes it a bit less relatable then if it was an event that happened during or shortly before the events of the series.

    Definitely going to have to give this a try! It kind of reminds me of Warner (Shatter Me)'s novella, which I loved. Thanks for sharing La Coccinelle and, as always, fabulous review! ♥

    ~ Zoe @ Stories on Stage

    1. Bardugo could probably write a whole series about the Darkling (pre-Alina) and it would be very interesting. However, it would also be pretty spoilery for Alina's series, so...

  2. I wish it had been a novella! I almost bought the special edition of the third book (even though I didn't like it) just to get this story. I'm glad it was good!

    1. A friend on Goodreads gave me links to three of the other Grisha stories (I haven't read them yet). I don't know if The Demon in the Wood is available for free anywhere, though.

      The Witch of Duva
      The Tailor
      The Too-Clever Fox