While we still don’t have a release date for Netflix’s “Shadow and Bone” series, we finally have a cast to shamelessly follow on social media and add to our fan-edits!
Yesterday, Netflix announced its cast for their new series based on Leigh Bardugo’s award-winning “Grishaverse” books. The series is set to adapt both her Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows book series and the casting for characters from both series has left book fans in a frenzy!
On the Six of Crows front, Freddy Carter (Pennyworth) will be playing gang-leader Kaz Brekker. Starring alongside him will be Amita Suman (The Outpost) as Inej Ghafa, Kit Young (Endeavour) as Jesper Fahey, and Danielle Galligan (Game of Thrones) as Nina Zenik.
The series is being adapted by showrunner Eric Heisserer known for his work on Arrival and is being directed by Lee Toland of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Bardugo herself is an executive producer on the show and expressed her excitement about the casting announcement. The cast we have so far has definitely made us fans more excited about the show and kept us on our toes for casting to come!
Leigh Bardugo is an incredible YA author famously known for her immersive worlds and cast of diverse, interesting characters. Her previous YA fantasy series include theGrisha trilogy, King of Scars, and the popular Six of Crows duology. Set in a world known as the Grishaverse in which different Grisha possess magical powers under different orders of magic—The Order of the Living and the Dead, the Order of Summoners, and the Order of Fabrikators—Leigh Bardugo created fictional countries with such unique cultures and locations that they almost seemed believable. And let’s not forget how much we all fell in love with Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows. Amidst the buzz about Shadow and Bone, the first book in the Grisha trilogy, coming to Netflix, Bardugo has decided to dive into a new realm of magic by penning her first adult novel.
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Bardugo’s new novel, titled Ninth House, seems to be the first book set outside the Grishaverse. And this setting might be slightly more familiar to us—it’s New Haven, Connecticut. The book follows a Yale freshman with a bad past, Alex Stern. She was raised by a hippie mom and dropped out of school to mess around with drug dealer boyfriends and bad jobs. It’s unlikely that she would end up at Yale, but when she becomes the only survivor of a multiple homicide, Alex is offered a full ride to one of the most prestigious universities. Alex’s benefactors instruct her to monitor the suspicious activities of the secret societies within Yale, and she soon discovers that these societies are more sinister than one might expect. The Yale societies are made up of prominent rich and powerful figures who conduct occult activities and forbidden magic in windowless clubhouses referred to as “tombs.”
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Bardugo, a graduate of Yale herself, says that she’s had the idea for Ninth House since her first day in New Haven as a student. The book’s release date is October 8th, and Bardugo says, “October is the perfect time for sinister tales, and I hope you’ll find Ninth House to be thrilling, eerie, funny, and maybe a little unnerving.”
It’ll be interesting to see how Leigh Bardugo makes the switch from young adult fiction to adult fiction. Her books have certainly dealt with dark themes surrounding magic before, and they’ve always held a particular air of maturity for YA books. Still, maybe Ninth House will be even more mature now that Bardugo is incorporating some of her own experiences. It also makes you wonder just what Leigh Bardugo experienced at Yale to imagine their secret societies as something occult. But what even are the Yale secret societies? Does her fantastical interpretation have any weight?
Each Yale secret society is small and only allows fifteen members or so. As is to be expected, it’s almost impossible to find information about these societies or what they do, but many of them also have impressive amounts of wealth. Yale has forty-one secret societies that we know about, each with menacing names like Berzelius, Skull and Bones, Book and Snake, Wolf’s Head, and Scroll and Key. With names like Skull and Bones, why shouldn’t we be suspicious? Skull and Bones is probably the most famous secret society and its alumni include William Howard Taft, President George H.W. Bush, President George W. Bush, and former Secretary of State John Kerry. Most of the societies’ alumni seem to be involved in political or financial positions of power… possibly bargained for by occult means? The architectural style of the tomb-like, windowless clubhouses was designed with privacy in mind, so we may never really know what goes on inside.
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After a few break-ins to the “tombs,” the floor plan of the original Skull and Bones building was published and it seemed like a fairly normal clubhouse. Nonetheless, who knows what the members of the societies could be concealing behind hidden walls and doors? Maybe Bardugo discovered something in her time at Yale and is finally revealing the dark, supernatural truth.
With a mix of such creepy rumors surrounding the Yale societies in real life and Bardugo’s thrilling, intense writing style, Ninth House is sure to be an amazing first adult fantasy novel for this author.
After finishing Leigh Bardugo’sSix of Crows duology, it bumped The Lunar Chronicles right out of the top-spot as my favorite book series (sorry Marissa Meyer, but you’re always in my heart). This high-fantasy heist series is a striking read. I can’t get enough of the characters, the narrative, the world. Despite having read it a few years ago, to this day it’s left me with the biggest book-hangover of my life. Here are the top six reasons why you need to read this duology too.
6. You don’t have to read her first series to understand it
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While technically a sequel series to Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy, you definitely don’t have to be well-versed in the world to dive right into these books. I personally didn’t read any of the original series and was still able to fall head-first into everything Six of Crows had to offer. It’s completely different than the first series with all new characters. And while I’m told there are a few minor cameos by characters from the Grisha Trilogy, this duology works brilliantly as a standalone.
5. It doesn’t play into YA fiction tropes
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Spoiler alert: there are no lost princesses in this duology! No love triangles, no “I’m not like other girls” girls, and absolutely no Chosen Ones. Even though this is a fantasy novel (and a high fantasy one at that), it strays greatly from the YA conventions of the fantasy genre. With those elements gone, it makes way for a truly unpredictable narrative. With the absence of these stylistic tropes, this series makes way for different aspects of YA to be explored. Not to mention without the comforting predictability of the high fantasy story structure, you’re constantly on your toes while you’re reading.
4. It delves into real-world issues
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Ketterdam is where the duology is primarily set and it’s a nation that is so dedicated to capitalism that it’s a religion to them. Bardugo uses these books to explore the dangers of a country that values money above all else. As a consequence of this world, we see characters as members of gangs, having to be prostitutes, and being plagued by illness and addiction. Bardugo paints a grimy world—one that requires her teenage-aged protagonists to grow up faster than most and she writes the psyche of each character so incredibly well.
3. The writing is extraordinary
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Bardugo’s one of those authors whose writing just hits you. She balances the serious with the loving and the heartbreaking. And despite how grim the subject matter might seem, the duology still manages to be uplifting, relatable and hilarious. Not to mention quotable as hell. Careful, though. You might end up with a Six of Crows quote as your Twitter bio.
2. The diversity is on point
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Much needed discussions in the YA community about diversity are finally being had. And as a tough critic on the lack of book characters of color and how they’re treated when they are there, I can actually give these series a stamp of approval. Not only are the characters racially diverse, but Bardugo is also inclusive in other ways. There’s a character that is plus sized, characters with both physical and mental disabilities, and LGBT+ representation. And when I say LGBT+ representation, I don’t just mean That One Gay Character in the main friend group and his under-developed boyfriend. I’m talking MULTIPLE queer characters of varying identities that are fleshed out. Not only is this diversity baked into the narrative, but it’s also not tokenized or stereotyped. Bardugo strikes a nice balance between writing her diversity so obscurely that nobody knows they are until she retroactively tells us in interviews (looking at you J.K. Rowling) and making that diversity the sole trait of those characters. She’s able to write diverse characters as people and that’s what we want when we ask for representation.
1. It’s going to be a TV series
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This is your chance to be the “I saw it first” friend. As of January of this year, Netflix has ordered an eight episode series of Shadow & Bone and Six of Crows. While there’s no details on how yet, the show will be combining both of Bardugo’s book series to make the show. Get a jump on the narrative by reading the Six of Crows duology. Not only will you be ahead of the curve for what is sure to be a highly talked about adaptation, but it’ll also be fun watching the world and character you know come to life onscreen.
Happy Birthday, City of Bones! YA Fantasy superstar Cassandra Clare released her debut (the first entry into the sprawling Shadowhunters universe) on March 27th, 2007, which makes the book twelve years old. That would land it squarely in middle school—a familiar landscape which has nonetheless changed a lot since this book’s release. Some things have, of course, remained the same: children are mean and hormones so rarely help anyone. But there are some major differences—YA is more diverse; genre fiction is booming; and social issues have risen to the forefront of modern discourse.
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Cassandra Clare’s novels have continued to do what they did at their outset: tell stories of characters who don’t often have their stories told. Clare’s LGBT+ rep throughout her body of work hits each of those four letters (and perhaps, soon, we’ll get some of the other letters that come with the +.) Clare has also recently gained attention for autistic representation that transcends superficial stereotypes. Her characters are bombastically human with all that entails—dramatic love stories, deep-seated emotional issues, ridiculous inside jokes. Clare’s obvious love for fantasy and the genre is second only to her understanding of human nature, and it’s obvious her work resonates for innumerable reasons: there are currently more than 50 million copies of her novels in print. The Mortal Instrumentsseries in particular has inspired both a film adaptation and a successful TV series. And, of course, her work has always resonated with me.
Picture this: I’m thirteen. I’m wearing a horrific amount of bright blue eyeliner (read: any amount). I am distinctly not straight. Since it’s not terribly likely you know what I look like, imagine me this way: uncomfortable with everything. City of Bones featured one of the very first LGBT+ couples I ever encountered—withdrawn, struggling Alec and the ever-bold Magnus Bane—and changed the way that I thought about what are currently two of my favorite things: genre fiction and myself.
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We’d call this a list of books to help you fill the Shadowhunters void—except, of course, that there isn’t one! Cassandra Clare has dutifully (and enthusiastically) expanded her universe’s lore since its inception, with new releases forthcoming in 2019: Chain of Gold, the first entry into a new historical fantasy trilogy, and The Red Scrolls of Magic, the start of a trilogy centered on the magical misadventures of Alec and Magnus. Clare even has a section on her website entitled “where to start,” acknowledging the fact that readers might be a little intimidated by the canon. Some advice on starting? Do it. Immediately.
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But if, like me, you’ve already plowed your way through the majority of the seemingly limitless Shadowhunters canon, here’s a delightful mix of 7 Young Adult & New Adult classics to remind you of all that this genre can accomplish.
Is this first on the list because it’s my personal favorite? Yes. Is it first on the list because it’s sure to be your personal favorite? Also yes. It would be a travesty to reduce Maggie Stiefvater‘s quartet to its LGBT+ characters, mostly because it’s so many other things besides strong representation: dangerous, raw, and human as its characters and all the things they want. Bonus content: Molotov cocktails, dead things that are supposed to be alive, alive things that are supposed to be dead. Every possible use of ‘Dick’ as a nickname for Richard. Distinguished boys who, for some reason, continue to wear boat shoes. The feeling of returning home and, for some, the immense desire to leave it. Bees…? One of the most unique series in YA fantasy today, The Raven Cycle is startling, strange, and filled with a cast of characters so real you won’t believe you haven’t really met them. Cassie Clare fans will live for the sarcasm, the limitless wit, the character dynamics, and the positive LGBT+ representation.
In V.E. Schwab‘s delightful, inventive, and ambitious trilogy, four different versions of London exist with varying levels of magic—and equivalent levels of danger. (Spoiler: that level is HIGH.) One is the London of old, one that we might recognize: no magic, lots of crime. One London is magic the way that we might imagine it. One is magic with all the cruelty that magic so often entails. And one—the most magic London of all—no longer exists. Or, at least, it no longer exists in any way that we might recognize. Oh, did that description make these books sound happy and upbeat? They are… when everything’s not busy going very, very wrong. Fans of Jace and Alec’s affectionate-yet-frequently-frustrated brotherly dynamic will love the give-and-take between adopted brothers Kell and Rhy. And it would be quite the challenge to build a world richer than Cassandra Clare’s—whose books are physically large enough to build that world brick by brick. V.E. Schwab’s attention to detail will delight those who are after a detailed lore.
The Magicianshas gotten a lot of attention lately thanks to its SyFy TV adaptation—and if it doesn’t already, it deserves to have yours. This may just be the best book series you ever read about a fictional wizard school (and yes, I do know about the other one). Unlike many fantasy series, which can paint concepts of good and evil in the broadest brushstrokes, The Magicians thoroughly examines all the thematic implications of the fantasy genre, subverting every trope in the process. The humor is frequently raunchy, nihilistic. The magic is even more frequently absurd. And the story is consistently unthinkable in its imagination, pushing the limits of what magic (and the fantasy genre!) can accomplish. Lev Grossman‘s world is as dark and sensual as it is intellectual and calculating—but, in the end, it’s more startlingly earnest than it is anything else, a subversive novel written from a clear love of the genre. Bonus: disaster gays, talking bears who drink Peach Schnapps, a hell that looks like a high school gymnasium, and a story to remind you exactly what storytelling means.
One of the best things about Cassandra Clare’s writing is the never-ending banter, each topic seemingly more ludicrous than the last… and somehow, for all its silliness, it only makes the characters feel more human and their dynamics more sincere. Leigh Bardugo‘s Six of Crowsis a character-driven heist duology set in a richly-realized fantasy world full of crime; corruption; and badass fight scenes, baby! What’s the difference between a heist and a regular robbery, you might ask? Well, it’s pretty simple: a heist is what they call theft when it’s cool. But as fast-paced and high-concept as this well-oiled plot machine may be, it’s also a deeply character-driven story. This misfit (and very queer) cast of characters may or may not steal what they set out to pilfer, but they’ll certainly steal your heart. And possibly crush it—this book has one of the most devastating backstories of all time.
Rainbow Rowell‘s Carry Onisn’t exactly fan-fiction, but it’s certainly fiction written for fandoms. You might call it your average wizard-boarding-school book, except that there’s very little average about it. Carry On is oft called ‘the gay Harry Potter,’ but it’s certainly not derivative—Rowell acknowledges its predecessor in clear ways, and chooses to thoughtfully play with beloved genre tropes. Oh, and you’re not going to find any LGBT+ subtext here—it’s all very much on the page. Rowell herself has commented on the matter of overt representation in Vanity Fair: “there was a time when this had to be subtext… don’t [read] it for the subtext, don’t [read] it for the moments [in BBC’s Sherlock] when Sherlock and John make eye contact and the world sets on fire but none of it’s real. As a culture, we are ready for text.” As a bonus, she also doesn’t think she’s a social justice hero for including a gay couple. “I’m definitely not the first person to write a gay Y.A. story,” she acknowledges, “by a million years.” Regardless, we’re always happy for more! This fun, subversive novel will appeal to pop culture fiends across all fandoms—including Cassandra Clare’s!
Scott Westerfeld‘s gritty urban fantasy is the It Follows of the mid-2000s urban fantasy world: college freshman Cal’s previous girlfriends (read: YA way to say ‘sexual partners’) have been infected with an unusual sort of vampirism. Sure there’s the whole lurking-in-the-darkness thing, but there’s also the anathema—Westerfeld’s vampires are repulsed by everything about their old lives, everything they once loved. (Especially Cal… although that may have something to do with him dropping off his vampire chlamydia.) A New Adult novel before the classification was coined, Peepsand sequel The Last Daysare gritty trysts into the dark supernatural underworld of NYC reminiscent of Clare’s Downworld, where the parties can last as long as some of their attendees’ lifespans. The edgy, fun tone with surprisingly poignant moments is sure to remind audiences of Clare’s own work. This isn’t your average vampire story… probably because it isn’t a vampire story at all. It’s about home, lies, love and equally powerful hatred: things far more human than that.
If you were around when the original three books of The Mortal Instruments were being released—that is, if you weren’t, like, eight years old—you may recall Cassandra Clare and established fantasy writer Holly Black‘s power-couple friendship. (I happen to remember Cassandra Clare’s livestream when she announced that there would be three more books in the series, so it’s safe to say I do.) Author of the children’s classic series The Spiderwick Chronicles, fantasy queen Black gave fans a nod to her close friendship with Cassie by including a mention of Jace and his fellow Shadowhunters in her books! In turn, Clare mentions the protagonist of Valiantin her trilogy as well. Does she use Valerie’s name? No. But which other bald junkie who lurks with the fey folk in subway tunnels could the unnamed character possibly be? Given that Black’s series (urban fantasy, NYC, chaotic fey) fits in quite naturally with Clare’s Downworlder mythology, it’s an excellent companion series.
Ever seen a beautiful clock, bronze shining, elegant numbers dictating the flow of your day. Have you ever been curious enough to open that clock and have your breath taken away from all the gears and shrews so masterfully fitted together that you wonder how the hell someone did this? That is the feeling I’ve gotten after reading Leigh Bardugo’s fiction. Best-selling author of the Grisha Triology, the fantasy-adventure young-adult series inspired by Russian folklore and the Six of Crows duology, Leigh Bardugo is considered to be a master of her trade.
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Leigh Bardugo is a gem of an author. In addition to creating captivating fantasy, the author aims for diversity in her writing, featuring badass female, POC, and LGBTQ+ characters, along with nuanced representation of disability. Leigh Bardugo is an inspiring author, who connects to her readers by providing powerful fantasy narratives that represent them, while also uplifting other diverse and talented authors.
Leigh Bardugo inspires one to become a better reader, a better writer, and a better ally, and here are some quotes to make sure that you are invested in going to the neared book-lending of selling location and reading her work.
1. “Just… be careful.’
I stared at her, baffled. ‘Of what?’
‘Of powerful men.”
4. “There is no pain like the pain of transformation.”
―The Language of Thorns
5. “Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.” ― The Language of Thorns
6. “This goes to show you that sometimes the unseen is not to be feared and that those meant to love us most are not always the ones who do.”
― The Language of Thorns
7. “Many boys will bring you flowers. But someday you’ll meet a boy who will learn your favorite flower, your favorite song, your favorite sweet. And even if he is too poor to give you any of them, it won’t matter because he will have taken the time to know you as no one else does. Only that boy earns your heart.”
― Six of Crows
8. “What doesn’t kill me better run.”
― Six of Crows
9. “We were not made to please princes.”
― The Language of Thorns
10. “Maybe there were people who lived those lives. Maybe this girl was one of them. But what about the rest of us? What about the nobodies and the nothings, the invisible girls? We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary. That was how you survived when you weren’t chosen, when there was no royal blood in your veins. When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something of it anyway.”