Review: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Published by: Imprint

Publication Date: September 26, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairytales, Retellings

Page Count: 288

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


Enter the Grishaverse…

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, the tales in The Language of Thorns will transport you to lands both familiar and strange-to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, each of them lavishly illustrated and culminating in stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.


“Dark things have a way of slipping in through narrow spaces.”

Over the last few years, I’ve been looking for more retellings, fairytales, and folklore. I can’t stop myself by gravitating toward them. What is there to complain about? Readers enjoy to jump back into a familiar story, feel at home, and just live in these stories. In Language of Thorns, Leigh whisks me away, and I love her writing, storytelling, and captivating characters. The more she writes the more I want. She has evolved into a multi-faceted and talented author who I can’t help but adore.

These stories don’t match her other ones. The tone and writing are completely separate but are a part of her Grishaverse. Is that a problem? No. I actually appreciate the separation.

I must also mention the artistry in and outside of this book. Sara Kipin, the illustrator, beautifully brings Leigh’s words to life. Each page reveals a new illustration in the book until the final one that gives you the end result. The book is worth the money, and, from time to time, I still keep catching myself flipping through the book. The Language of Thorns is a beautiful, haunting, lyrical, and dark collection of cleverly written tales. These stories aren’t you traditional folktale. She will take a traditional fairytale and turn it into a whimsically dark story of her own.

 

Ayama and the Thorn Wood

Ahh, I loved reading this story. Leigh weaves in bargains with betrayals, sacrifices, and power of an unremarkable girl, Ayama, who defies the odds of standing up against a beastly prince. Leigh incorporates many issues girls face in these kinds of stories: they can’t be the hero and must be pretty for them to have a good life. Ayama may be unattractive, but that fact doesn’t devalue her worth, and this story shows that sometimes the pretty girls don’t always get the happy ending.

 

The Too-Clever Fox

The anti-hero Koja the fox has never had a good start in life, so in order for him to survive, he outsmarts everyone in the forest. But this clever fox might be outwitted by a trickster he never sees coming. Smarts aren’t always a good thing.

 

The Witch of Duva

And here’s your twist on Hansel and Gretel and the evil stepmother. But that wicked old witch and mommy dearest aren’t the beasties you should fear. Leigh puts in the typical stereotypes in lore and then throws in a twist or two. I love this story.

 

Little Knife

Finally! Thank you, Leigh, for letting the girl not choose the man. Bow down to the queen. Give her that crown and throne. This tale is of a father who seeks the right, if I mean the most richest, suitor for his beautiful daughter and proposes a competition for all the men who want her. Whoever wins will get the hand of this fair maiden, but here’s a catch: she has other plans in mind.

 

The Soldier Prince

Leigh breaths in new life into this tale of the Nutcracker. He’s always there to serve, protect, and fight. But what if he wants something more in life. What if he wants something for himself. He finally wakes up. This story may keep you up at night.

 

When Water Sang Fire

I’ve found this story hard to read. The ending tore at me, made me want to hit something, yet showed me so much more. And that reaction is what I look for in a good story. Leigh throws in a new twist for this Little Mermaid retelling. What are you willing to give up so your people will accept you? What will you do to be who you want to be? Well, she sprinkles in some treachery and betrayal, and you have a poignant yet powerful tale.

And I finally meet a certain someone who goes by the name of Darkling. Bring on the swoon.

 

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