Read the First Chapter of SHADOW AND BONE Annotated by Leigh Bardugo

If you can believe it, this year is the 10th anniversary of Leigh Bardugo’s debut novel Shadow & Bone. That epic fantasy spawned a bestselling book series, a fantasy franchise, and a smash hit Netflix TV series. The Grishaverse—as the expansive world is known among readers—is a beloved fictional universe filled with characters we’d die for. And it all began with Shadow and Bone.

The cover for Shadow and Bone shows Jessie Mei Li using her powers

The sprawling Slavic-inspired series, is the kind of contemporary fantasy that we love here at Nerdist. That’s why we’re so excited to share an exclusive version of the very first chapter of Shadow & Bone annotated by Leigh Bardugo. You can read the entire thing below and get a deeper insight into the world of the Grisha. Bardugo’s intricate and generous annotations add another layer to the magical world.

The cover of Shadow and Bone shows a gold and black cover with two eclipsed moons

Released on June 5, 2012, the book introduces Alina and Mal, young orphans raised in a world where magic is real and which enlists magic users to the enigmatic Second Army. Growing up together, the pair soon must join the non-magical First Army. That is, until Alina showcases an unexpected and powerful form of magic, and soon their lives turn upside down. 

In the first chapter which Bardugo has annotated for readers finds Alina and Mal at the orphanage. Harking back to boarding school fiction like The Little Princess, the kids try their best to survive and thrive, sticking together to face down the boredom and struggles of day to day life. It’s here that they forge the bond that will change them both and ultimately the world. Bardugo shares insights into key moments and how they would go on to evolve and shape the series as she continued it.

This delightful treat feels like a perfect way to celebrate one of our favorite series and the amazing author who wrote it. So grab your warmest blanket or most intricate Kefta and dig in below.

Shadow and Bone Annotated C… by Macmillan Kids

An author photo of Leigh Bardugo sitting on a sofa with her hair down around her shoulders
Christina Guerra

Featured Image: Macmillan

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