*This interview is a flight of fancy. As much as I love stalking the truly gracious, honest to goodness real Leigh Bardugo on twitter, I doubt she’d be down for indulging in this lunacy.
** Read Beth’s other fake interviews and book awesomeness HERE
Me: HOWDY, Leigh! May I call you Leigh, Leigh?
Not-Leigh: You just did.
Me: Yes, but are you ok with that?
NL: I’m not entirely real, so what does it matter in the grand scheme of things?
Me: It doesn’t. I just like to establish a fake-interviewee’s fakeness early in the fake interview so the real readers aren’t duped into thinking you wanted to talk to me.
NL: I’m sure I would love to talk to you, Beth. For hours.
Me: That sounds EXACTLY like something Not-Leigh would say.
NL: Just so.
Me: So, allow me to establish who you are for readers who might not know. Leigh, you guys, had the most fabulous debut novel last year, Shadow and Bone. It completely rocked my world like debuts generally do not. Me, upon finishing it:
NL: It didn’t exactly end in the happiest of fashions. Should I be afraid to ask why you were so um … ecstatic?
Me: Leigh, you created the most fascinating world; Ravka feels palpable and reachable, like a time and place we can map and travel to. There’s this gorgeous backdrop of fantasy – there is magic, but it’s rooted in history, like good fantasy should be, and that always makes me happy, school girl dancing giddy.
NL: Nice to know.
Me: Then there’s Alina, who you know early on is going to be the kind of protagonist that MATTERS – she’s Harry and Katniss and Frodo (and Eowyn) and Arya. She’s powerful and capable of sacrifice. She’s going to AMAZE.
NL: Well, thank you.
Me: BUT … you know why I completely loved it, right? I mean. YOU KNOW.
NL: I think I can imagine.
Me: It’s the ridiculust*. I can’t help it. I mean, I’m the girl who writes entire posts about book boyfriends.
NL: Here it comes.
Me: THE.DARKLING. I feel like I should put his name in ALL CAPS BOLD. THE DARKLING.
Me: You know you can’t just create this insanely captivating, nearly all-powerful, gorgeous sorcerer without attracting a few crazy fangirls, right?
NL: Well, The Darkling is complex and layered …
Me: Oh yeah he is. I’d like to examine those layers. First-hand.
NL: You should stop.
Me: But they don’t know, Leigh. If they haven’t read (which they SHOULD have because I recc’d your book back in December), how will they know the seductive power of The Darkling? Ladies. I give you … Darkling Quotes, starring the fabulously fan-casted, Sean O’Pry.
Me: I need a minute.
NL: I kind of might as well.
Me: Ok. So, what I really want to talk about is the sequel, Siege and Storm which is coming out JUNE 4th!!!
NL: Yes, it is.
Me: I got my greedy reader hands on an advanced copy, and I have to say – it might have been better than Shadow and Bone.
NL: You really think so?
Me: Yes. It’s relentless. There was never a moment where I felt I could put the book down, take a breather, leave Ravka and return later. I was a Volcra, and S&S was sandskiff of juicy peoples.
NL: I can’t even respond to that.
Me: Here’s the thing: in a lot of books, we’re given a clear hero. A Good and an Evil. What I love about your series is the murkiness that IS Alina, and her relationship to her own power and to The Darkling. We get the barest hints of that in the first book, but it was delicious how she struggled in S&S. Of course, the struggle itself is what makes Alina sympathetic, but there is still the mystery of where she will land. I LOVE IT.
NL: Glad to hear it.
Me: And all the sexy, possessive Mal we get in this book? GOOD LORD. I was 100% Team Darkling until Mal pushed Alina up against a wall and told her, “I’m not particularly interested in defending your honor.” And then I had to agree with Alina’s assessment of the way their story was headed:
Me: And Sturmhond!!! I really didn’t think you would be able to introduce ANOTHER amazing character for whom I’d fall prey to more ridiculust, but ya did.
NL: I’m pretty fond of Sturmhond myself.
Me: Fond of? FOND?
Me: He’s a witty, wise-cracking privateer with all kinds of swash-buckling heroism. He gives new definition to cavalier charisma. He’s AWESOME.
NL: I’m sure he’d appreciate your endorsement.
Me: That sounds like sarcasm, Leigh.
NL: Does it?
Me: SO DOES THAT.
NL: You are astute.
Me: THANK YOU. Give everyone reading a hint to what Siege and Storm is all about.
NL: Alina (with Mal) is being hunted by The Darkling, trying to hide her power as the Sun Summoner, but as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal.**
Me: GAH. Her internal (and sometimes her very literal EXTERNAL) battle with her burgeoning power is so.totally.epic.
NL: Yah, so somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything.**
Me: But what I want everyone to know is that these are MUST READ books. If not for the lush settings, the fully imagined world, the strained love stories, the seductive power struggle, and the gorgeous language, then at least … at LEAST … for The Darkling.
NL: I don’t know that he would like being the least of your reasons.
Me: Oh, he isn’t.
You guys, Siege and Storm comes out in just over a week, so you have plenty of time to read Shadow and Bone (for the first time or as a refresher) and get totally ready for Alina, Mal, Sturmhond, Genya, and The Darkling to completely blow your mind!!!
Also, you can follow the real, and totally awesome, Leigh Bardugo on twitter and tumblr. She’s a Game of Thrones nut, so we know Nikki will love her.
*ridiculust: the inescapable, totally #normal feeling of intense attraction to a fictional guy, regardless of his good or bad character, but directly related to his smoldery-ness
**quoted from the official summary