Shadow and Bone Made Me Fall in Love with YA Fantasy Again

I am a book snob. I have been for a long time. Growing up with a literature obsessed older brother, from a very young age, I was exposed to books that were classed as more academic than the usual Young Adult fiction that was targeted towards those who were my age. Soon, I became engrossed in the classics and made myself believe that YA was beneath me. These fantastical stories that once intrigued me no longer appealed to me because I was so desperate to be challenged.

With the release of Netflix’s newest adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s fantasy book series Shadow and Bone, I found myself consumed by the world that Bardugo had managed to create. By merging the characters from both the Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows book series that take place within the same ‘universe’, Netflix was able to create a cohesive and captivating show. And as soon as I had finished it, I was already begging for more content (especially of the gang of eccentric misfits that are collectively named as The Crows).

So obviously, I had to get my hands on the original inspiration for the series.

I’m starting with the Six of Crows duology due to my inclination towards The Crows. This is the first YA fantasy book that I have picked up in nearly a decade and, honestly, I had forgotten how brilliant they are. Within a few days, I had already devoured most of the first book. After spending so much time reading complex and often quite disturbing books, picking up a YA novel felt like a much needed break. As much as I love Murakami, sometimes I don’t want to have to delve deep into my brain to be able to understand what is going on at all times. Six of Crows offers an alternative to me, one that is just fun and easier to follow.

Bardugo’s writing really does allow the reader to be absorbed into her universe that she has carefully crafted. Considering the state of the world at the moment, a little respite from reality is valuable to all. And what could be better than reading a book about a gang of criminals trying to pull off an impossible heist? YA provides a space for reading solely for enjoyment and should definitely not be looked down upon as much as it is, which is something that I have had to come to terms with.

Being deeply involved in the world of Booktube has taught me that you can like YA books and also like texts that are more academic. I feel that it is quite beneficial to take a break sometimes from the classics and just read a book that may not use as complex vocabulary or literary techniques but is just as enriching.

Image courtesy of Annie Spratt.

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