Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo – It’s Ravka, dammitt!

According to Amazon reviewers, I’m supposed to feel so much better that Bardugo wasn’t writing historical fiction.

“It’s Ravka, not Russia, stupid!” Don’t worry, your language and culture weren’t butchered for the wrong reasons. It was done for our entertainment, so chill.

Shit, I was beginning to worry.

7 Responses to Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo – It’s Ravka, dammitt!

  1. Sarah says:

    Welcome to the rest of the world. Different cultures inspire fantasy and sci-fi all of the time. The key word here is “inspire.” Pick up a fantasy book, and research the authors, and you’ll discover that most was inspired by a culture that exists. And they are largely inaccurate to any specific culture’s history because that is not what they are. They are not a history. They are fantasy.

    When you Google the definition of fantasy, this is what comes up:

    “The faculty or activity of imagining things that are impossible or improbable.”

    I think that about covers it.

    • Next Friday says:

      So words in English should mean what they mean, and words in Russian can be redefined to mean what you want, correct?

      • Sarah says:

        Not at all. All words in any language can and should be used, played with, moved around and whatnot in terms of fantasy. That’s the beautiful thing about language and fantasy. People can do what they want with it. It’s fantasy. I wouldn’t be insulted for a second if someone twisted the English language around for fantasy purposes. I’m sure it’s even been done before.

      • Next Friday says:

        Yes, people twist languages for fantasy purposes, they put an effort in making new words related to the old ones in some way and fit into the language in general. When they do it right, everyone is happy. When they take words and randomly replace their existing meanings with something else, it looks extremely ridiculous. Taking, let’s say, club soda and randomly deciding it’s going to be tequila from now on, is not how it works.

        Yeah, you can do it. And people can laugh at you. Even if I put appropriation issues aside, Bardugo’s random attempts at wordplay won’t stop looking silly.

  2. Sarah says:

    I disagree, but to each his own.

  3. Didn’t you get the memo? If you change the name to something different, but recognizable, like the Russia -> Ravka thing, the Russians won’t know. Although I think I’m not supposed to tell you…

    I’m absolutely with you – if you’re going to make up a word, then do it. Take inspiration from other stuff, fine, but you have to change it up enough that you’re not just assigning new definitions to somebody else’s words. That’s why people started coming up with common languages, after all…I think, anyway. I’m not certain anymore. You should switch the words for club soda and tequila at a bar one night. Americans, at least (can’t speak for Europe), will become hysterically protective of the language they butcher regularly.

    But worst case, do something like medicine and other sciences do. Find the words and apply glue. And/or acronyms. In US research labs and stuff, the neat acronyms don’t happen by accident. We decide those first, and then come up with words that sound mostly like the research and make them fit the acronym word we wanted. :D

  4. […] The negative review that Rose links to and a follow up post. […]

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