Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.
Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales 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.
The Language of Thorns is comprised of six short stories - 3 of which are old and can be read anywhere on the internet and the other 3 are completely new and never seen before. I guess I wished for more of new material? Only 3 new stories are not enough to comprise a full book, in my opinion. I've also liked the older stories better than the new ones, which was also a little disappointing. The new ones weren't bad in any way, the writing was amazing and the stories were good, they just didn't do much for me personally. I found myself largely underwhelmed.
- Ayama and the Thorn Wood: (3.75/5 stars) I've enjoyed this story a lot, despite it being incredibly heavily drawn upon fairy tales and folklore this was still a very enjoyable read. I especially enjoyed the bond and friendship between Ayama and her sister, despite all of their their differences.
- The Too-Clever Fox: (3/5 stars) I've read this one a while back and I thought that it was good, but nothing special. I know that all of those stories are inspired by folklore, but this was so 'been there done that' that I didn't feel much for the story. I've definitely read many stories just like this one when I was growing up.
- The Witch of Duva: (5 stars) I've read this one a while ago, right after I finished The Grisha trilogy and was craving more of Bardugo's writing. The Witch of Duva blew my freaking mind. All I could say after I was done, was WOW.
This must be witchcraft because holy smokes it was fantastic! In few pages I was both mesmerized and creeped out.
This felt a lot like something Brothers Grimm would write : dark, delicious and traumatizing.
And I LOVED it.
Go ahead. Read it. Give yourself a treat. A dark, very creepy treat.
- The Little Knife: (3/5 stars) I'm not quite sure how I feel about this story - it was good, beautifully written, and yet something felt off in it for me. I just don't know exactly what? I did enjoy the 'princess saves herself' moral of this story, I feel like it's a very empowering and important message to deliver.
- The Soldier Prince: (2/5 stars) My least favorite of them all. I think the story just went over my head, because to me this was just a bunch of nonsense. It started out very interestingly at first, but then it just became a big mess while trying to be too many stories at once. And the ending was just weird. I sadly did not enjoy this one at all.
- When Water Sang Fire: (4.5/5 stars) What a beautiful story to wrap up the book. It is the longest one in the book, but it's also one of the best (only second after The Witch of Duva). Ulla is such a strong and compelling character, I couldn't help but fall for her from the very first page. I loved the twist at the end, maybe because I did not see it coming at all? It was heartbreaking, and yet, beautiful. And obviously the guest appearance scored some extra points for this story *wink, wink*. This story was deliciously atmospheric and perfect for this time of year. The ending was very 'little mermaid', but I enjoyed it a lot anyway.
Final rating: 3.5/5 stars
Overall, I can't help but feel a little disappointed. I was very excited for this book, and I feel like it didn't deliver to its full potential. Maybe because there were only 3 new stories? Maybe because it wasn't as dark and spooky as I hoped it would be? Maybe because in some of the stories I felt like the author was trying too hard to please the readers instead of just letting her stories flow by themselves? Or maybe I'm just turning into a book Grinch?
The full page illustrations were absolutely gorgeous - all of them. My favorite one is The Witch of Duva, but all of the others were amazing too, Kiplin did a great job!
Freelance BETA reader.