Bookish Parade: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Bookish Parade

Bookish Parade is my cover feature in which I highlight the various editions of a chosen book. Previously, I would look at the covers and provide individual commentary on each, followed by my personal rankings of favorite to least favorite editions. With this latest version of the Bookish Parade, I’m shifting my focus to the elements that reappear on multiple editions of the book.

Bookish Parade: Foreign Editions of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

For this edition of Bookish Parade, I decided to highlight the various editions of Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone. I actually fell in love with this book the moment I set my eyes on it (hello, pretty US cover), and I fell even harder once I opened the book and read it (hello, Darkling. See my Shadow and Bone review here). As it’s one of the few books I own multiple copies of (thanks to my work placement at a UK publishing house) and the theme for our latest edition of the Bookish Games, I figured it’s only fair I feature it in my Bookish Parade. Come, take a look!

The Grand Palace, Ravka

Vietnamese Shadow and Bone CoverTurkish Shadow and Bone CoverRomanian Shadow and Bone CoverPolish Shadow and Bone Cover

English US Shadow and Bone CoverIndonesian Shadow and Bone CoverHebrew Shadow and Bone CoverEnglish UK  Shadow and Bone Cover

One of the common threads found throughout most of these covers is The Grand Palace, the place in Ravka where Alina trains as a member of the Grisha. Though it does not mention it within the synopsis, the world Bardugo created is actually inspired by ancient Russia. By including silhouettes of a Russian castle on the cover, it hints at the Russian-esque setting of the world which is, I think, quite important. With so many worlds inspired by Western communities within YA, it’s exciting to get a taste of something different.

If I had to choose, I’d actually say the Hebrew cover is my favorite from this batch. While the US English version will always hold a special place in my heart, I absolutely love the silhouettes of the Hebrew design and it gets me excited thinking there’s an adventure ahead.

Deer and/or Necklace

English US Shadow and Bone CoverIndonesian Shadow and Bone CoverSwedish Shadow and Bone CoverGerman Shadow and Bone Cover

French Shadow and Bone CoverPolish Shadow and Bone CoverItalian Shadow and Bone Cover

Now, I actually find it quite interesting that the deer and/or necklace image features so heavily on these covers. Both play a role within the story, but what that role may be is not hinted to at all within the synopsis. If I had to choose, I’d go with the deer over the necklace for the cover. The deers add a sense of intrigue to the story, whereas the covers that focus on the necklace just seem so generic to me. View Spoiler »

My favorite cover out of this batch would have to be the US English cover, just because I like the way the deer antlers are worked in without being too much of a focus. (I don’t think I even realized they were deer antlers until after reading the story.) I will say I like the Swedish and German covers as well, though.

Alina Starkov

German Shadow and Bone CoverEnglish UK Shadow and Bone CoverSwedish Shadow and Bone CoverGreek Shadow and Bone Cover

Italian Shadow and Bone CoverHebrew Shadow and Bone CoverGerman Shadow and Bone Cover

Ah yes, the main character Alina Starkov! I know readers are often divided on whether or not the MC should be featured on the cover. Some like the images to help them imagine the character, while others rather have it left to their imagination. I think in this case, not having her on the cover is better. In the books she is described as having dull brown hair and erm… from what I can tell there’s not a whole lot of brown here. I do like how mysterious she looks in these covers though, yay for capes and hoods!

If I had to choose a cover over of this batch, I would actually choose the white German edition. I don’t necessarily think it’s fits what I imagine Alina as in my head, but it’s the one I would definitely pick up in a bookstore. :P

And that’s it??

I have to admit, as much as I love these covers, I’m also slightly disappointed in them. Where is the Shadow Fold? Where is the Darkling? Where are the powers? While most of these covers do a good job of communicating fantasy, I’m a bit sad that they didn’t further involve the use of darkness within the book. It’s like the main thing discussed in the synopsis! I think the only one that even gives me any hint of magic on the actual cover is the Vietnamese one – the gold looks like magic coming out of a hand.

If I had my way, I would hire Keith Thompson design a cover to match the beautiful maps he created for the books. Then you’d get a glimpse at the darkness of the Shadow Fold on the outside of the book, which is one of my favorite things. Bring on the evil!

Shadow and Bone Map

What do you think? Have a favorite cover? Think any are perfect for the book? What design elements do you think belong on Shadow and Bone?


Read 10 comments

  1. As much as I love the US covers, the thought of the map illustrator making covers has me in a fangirling frenzy. That would be insane. I love what he did with the map, and I don’t think I can handle it if it was him who made the covers for the series.

  2. I have the purple UK edition and it’s definitely one of my favourite versions of the cover. the purple colour for the cover is so pretty! The cover definitely hints at that russian aspect and I like how the blurb not even has to mention it as everyone will think of it as soon as they see the cover. I like how the cover can influence people their impression about the book like that.
    I only realized after reading this post that those are deer antlers in the cover! I didn’t even notice that detail, but now that you pointed it out I have to say that’s very clever. And I agree with you that I prefer not having the main character on the cover in this case, although I do like the german cover.

  3. Oooo, I agree with you and Shannelle about the map artist doing the covers (though I ADORE the US covers as they are now)! And I believe you are correct that the necklace was made of the antlers, not a medallion.

  4. I think the original US cover would always be my favourite.I am a huge fan of Shadow and Bone-and I hope I’ll get to the sequels soon-and I really love how the cover perfectly suits the story.
    I would’ve loved a cover with The Darkling!He’s one of my favourite villains ever,and it would’ve been terrific if he starred in the cover.

  5. Yay, I got so excited seeing that you chose Shadow and Bone! Besides the U.S. cover, I would also agree that the Hebrew one is pretty cool — though if it were to be sold in the U.S. with the same cover, I think I’d have a hard time identifying it as YA. I also like the Indonesian cover, if only because the deer is really cool and the castle is so intricate. Love the post! :)

  6. yay for Shadow and Bone Bookish Parade! The Polish one is my favorite though the Vietnamese one definitely looks magical. I kind of have to agree though, while some of them are good covers, none quite capture the darkness and magic of the story.

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