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The Children’s Book Blog Christmas Countdown: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Rebecca Davies

16 Shadow and Bone The Children’s Book Blog Christmas Countdown: Shadow and Bone by Leigh BardugoFor December I’ve decided to turn the children’s book blog into a sort of literary advent calendar. Every day of the month I’ll be posting a short recommendation of a wintry or Christmassy children’s book to warm your cockles or, in some cases, chill the blood. There’ll be something for readers of all ages, from picture books all the way up to YA. My choice for December 16th is Leigh Bardugo’s ‘Shadow and Bone’.

Wintery journeys seem to be a recurring motif in my advent recommendations so far, but you really can’t beat an icy landscape when it comes to atmosphere. This time we’re in what appears to be a fantastical reimagining of Siberia. Our heroine is Alina, a teenage orphan who discovers she is in fact a powerful ‘Grisha’ – an army of elite humans with magical powers. As Alina gradually comes to terms with her magic, her affections become increasingly torn between her childhood friend, Mal, and the mysterious Darkling, the ruler of the Grisha.

The book received rave reviews from adult critics as well as the teenage readers it’s aimed at, and went on to become a bestseller. And it’s easy to see why; it’s a well-paced, emotionally-engaging adventure that keeps you on your toes as to which characters you should trust and which you shouldn’t. The frantic battle for survival that ensues when the truth finally does out leaves you longing for more – which is just as well, since this is the first in a planned trilogy. The second book Siege and Storm was published this summer and the final instalment is out next year.

Check back tomorrow to see which book is lurking behind the ‘calendar door’ for December 17th and catch up on my previous recommendations here

Rebecca Davies is a journalist and children’s author. She is currently working on a Young Adult fantasy novel set in Hackney. You can follow her on Twitter as @TheStoryMonster

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