May 10, 2023

REVIEW Demon in the Wood (Grishaverse #0) by Leigh Bardugo, Illustrated by Dani Pendergast

Demon in the Wood (Grishaverse #0) by Leigh Bardugo, Illustrated by Dani Pendergast
Rating: 4 Stars
Release Date: September 27, 2022
Format: eBook (Borrowed from Library) + Audiobook (Personal Library)
Publisher: Roaring Book Press  

I wasn’t all that familiar with Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse books prior to the release of Shadow and Bone on Netflix. However, since then I’ve gone back and explored them and the characters are just as awesome on page as they are on screen. The Darkling, in particular, is one of the more memorable young adult fantasy villains I’ve read about. In the graphic novel Demon in the Wood (illustrated by Dani Pendergast), Leigh Bardugo gives readers a glimpse into the Darkling’s history from before he became the feared Shadow Summoner and general most are familiar with him as. 

In the world of the Grishaverse, Grisha are typically looked upon as other by those without the ability to practice the small science. The Darkling is the feared Shadow Summoner who leads the Grisha when we first meet him in the Shadow and Bone novel, and readers quickly learn that he has a strong hatred for non-Grisha. Hate is not something people are born with though, and Demon in the Wood shares a small part of his background and how his hatred for otkazat’sya developed. I really enjoyed seeing Baghra as well as the other characters who make an appearance in the graphic novel.

I already knew Leigh Bardugo’s writing was excellent but Dani Pendergast’s illustrations are awesome and really pulled the story together. Graphic novels, by nature, don’t have a ton of verbiage to them so you have to rely heavily on what you see. Each of the panels added to the story and moved the action forward. No transitions felt abrupt or forceful. Normally, I would be fine with just the graphic novel but if you’re a fan of audiobooks. I highly recommend listening to the audiobook version simultaneously to reading the graphic novel. Ben Barnes (the actor who plays the Darkling in the Netflix show) leads an amazing full cast production of the story, and their narration really elevates the reading experience.  

Overall, Demon in the Wood was a short entertaining read. A definite must for any fans of the Grishaverse! 

About the Author

Leigh Bardugo is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Ninth House and the creator of the Grishaverse (now a Netflix original series) which spans the Shadow and Bone trilogy, the Six of Crows duology, the King of Scars duology—and much more. Her short fiction has appeared in multiple anthologies including The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy. She lives in Los Angeles and is an associate fellow of Pauli Murray College at Yale University.

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