Book Review, Fiction

The Language of Thorns

The Language of Thorns Book Cover The Language of Thorns
Leigh Bardugo
Young Adult Fiction
September 26, 2017

'Presents a collection of six short stories that transports readers to familiar and strange magical lands with haunted towns, hungry woods, talking beasts, and gingerbread golems.'


I don’t often read short stories, but could not pass up on The Language of Thorns.
Leigh Bardugo and Sara Kipin have created the most beautiful book on the shelf. It is filled with gorgeous illustrations for each story. The frame grows around the texts page by page, subtly changing until it envelopes the final pages.
It’s not just the art that captured me, but the stories as well. It contains a mixture of traditional fairy tales and Bardugo’s Grisha culture. The stories feel familiar, but also new. They have the bittersweet taste of the older tales like those of the Grimm brothers. Tales that warn of consequences instead of being mere entertainment for its readers.
There is no perfect prince charming ready to save the day. Instead we have characters facing difficult truths. Dealing with the misconceptions we can have of people hiding their true intentions.
The Grisha magic in this book is at times very different from what we have learnt so far of the world. It does suggest that there is still more in the Grishaverse to reveal. But it is a book of fairy tales and they do tend to be more fancifully.
I enjoyed all the stories, but am particularly fond of the last two. ‘The Soldier Prince’ and ‘When Water Sang Fire’. ‘The Nutcracker ‘ and ‘The Little Mermaid’ woven into something darker and more poignant.
I recommend this work of art to all. Read it yourself and read it to your children. We can all do with getting away from the Disney’s sugar-coating.

thebibliotaph_the_wood The Language of Thorns
I was drawing while listening to the audiobook version and this happened.

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2 thoughts on “The Language of Thorns

  1. Do you think it’s better to read this before or after the Grisha Trilogy? I haven’t started on the Grishaverse yet but this one is the one calling to me the most

    1. The stories are self contained. There might be a cameo or a place name you might not quite get, but I don’t think it will impact on the overall experience.

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