BLOG TOUR: SEIGE and STORM by Leigh Bardugo Guest Post + Giveaway


Hello Everyone! Today I am a host of the SIEGE and STORM Blog Tour and I have an amazing post by Leigh Bardugo that you cannot pass up. Today's post is a fascinating look into the geography that has been imagined and created and finally realized in a map form for the Shadow and Bone series. If you were intrigued before you will be truly fascinated by each description and the great details that are given. So, please stay a bit and get to know this marvelous world and it's awesome author a little bit better. Make
sure to check out the other stops here.

Some fantasy authors begin with the map. They know where everything in their world is before they write a single word. I ended up taking a different route. I started with only the vaguest idea of what my world looked like: All I knew was that Ravka (nameless at the time) was surrounded by enemies and that the Shadow Fold had left the country landlocked. But about halfway through the draft, I had to get serious about what the geography of this place looked like. I wanted a good sense of the distances between locations, and honestly, I just needed to keep track of where things were.

This is a section of the original map I drew that became the map for Shadow and Bone. (Is it a coincidence that my heroine is a talentless cartographer? Possibly.) Though it looks like it was drawn by a precocious toddler, it did the trick. I was able to chart Alina's journey and get a stronger sense for the geopolitical forces at work in my story. 

I knew I wouldn't be able to include the map when I began querying for agents. (Note to aspiring authors: Agents do not want to see extras in the slushpile.) So I put the map aside and didn't think of it again until I was beginning Siege and Storm. Once again, the world was expanding and I needed to keep up. This time, maybe because I knew my world so much better, I had a lot more fun with it. I knew the places that I wanted to go and some of the future stories I wanted to tell, and the geography came alive—the land bridge between Kerch and the Shu Han kept submerged by Tidemakers, the peaks of the Elbjen, and the icy islands of Kenst Hjerte, the Broken Heart. 

My original scribble of Kerch.
My attempt to tidy it up. You can see the pencil marks.
Keith's Version. You can hardly tell the difference, right?

Of course, at this time, I had no idea that Keith Thompson was being brought on to turn my awkward sketch into a work of art for Shadow and Bone. I'd been a fan of Keith's work since I first saw it in Scott Westerfeld's brilliant Leviathan, and hearing that he would be creating the map for my book was truly one of the most bizarre and incredible moments in my journey to publication.

When I asked Keith about how he approached the process of creating the map, he said he began by going through his own map collection. "Knowing the general equivalent timeline and type of cultural setting meant that I was already keeping to a specific selection of maps and artworks. After steeping myself in those real world analogues I filtered everything through my own aesthetic and vision and of course tried to instill in it your own visions of the world." He most enjoyed working on the Shadow Fold: "It really is the focus of the map. It’s like a manifest act of violence on a piece of cartography. That’s a fun thing to present as something which obviously must be crossed by the protagonists."

The expanded map from Siege and Storm

Keith's map creates a beautiful first impression, but it's also full of revealing little details. If you look closely, you'll see a representation of the Darkling's symbol on the right. On the left, he added the Ravkan double eagle—the symbol of the Lantsov family. The details of the eagle aren't revealed until book 2, but I gave them to Keith and he managed to work them into the map in Shadow and Bone. (The eagle holds a scepter in one talon. In the other, he grips three black arrows bound by red, purple, and blue ribbons. These symbolize the Darkling's power through the three Orders of the Grisha.)

If you look to the True Sea, you'll also glimpse the sea whip. There was another creature originally on the map, but we had to remove it because it was too much of a spoiler.

As far as I'm concerned, Keith didn't just draw a map, he created something ominous, lovely, and integral to the experience of reading Shadow and Bone. I'm thrilled that he came back for Siege and Storm, and I hope the expanded map will make it even easier for readers to journey into Ravka—whether they're finding their way or just enjoying getting lost.

Some lovely EXTRAS

• Leigh Bardugo on the Fierce Reads Tour

• Listen to Leigh Bardugo's song, "Winter Prayer"

Pre-order a copy of Siege and Storm, submit your receipt, and get specially-branded nail polish

• Download the first five chapters of Siege and Storm now
• Leigh on Twitter and Tumblr 


Thanks to the amazing people at Macmillan, I am giving away a paperback copy of Shadow and Bone as well as a hardcover copy of Siege and Storm on the blog today! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US/Canada only.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. What Keith illustarted is definitely more than just a map. Beautiful!

    Safari Poet

  2. I love all the details added into the map! It's beautiful and I look forward to studying the spread in book two. Thanks for the giveaway! ^.^

  3. I haven't read the first book yet (my daughter just turned me on to a TON of YA books!!) but this series sounds amazing and I can't wait to rent it from my local library!

  4. GREAT Giveaway!

  5. Such a lovely map - and Leigh's is better than mine would've been!

  6. I have been re-tweeting everyday for a week now ;) I think I really want this prize lol !!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  7. Just hours away from the release of Siege and Storm and I can't sleep because I am so excited! Finished rereading Shadow and Bone today in anticipation. This post was just the thing to carry me from one to the other. I love reading about the "behind the scenes" work that goes into these amazing stories.

  8. Great book. Can't wait for the last one. This is another great trilogy of novels. Leigh Bardugo is a great author.
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