The Language of Thorns

Leigh Bardugo

Shelfie Score: 78%

Likeminded Reader Score: Login

Publisher: Imprint
Pages: 304


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. 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...

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Written Reviews of The Language of Thorns (1)

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The five stars I gave this book and the five stars awarded to the author's other works like Wonder Woman: Warbringer or Shadow and Bone are two entirely different stars. While WW:W entranced me with the relatable portrayal of Diana Prince and her Grisha Verse introduced me to an amazing world and cast of characters, this book is entirely different.

The Language of Thorns (Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic) is a set of fairytales based in the world of the Grisha. It has some inspiration from folk stories and fairy tales that we are all familiar with, but amazingly these minor details and similarities did not feel recycled or cliche. In fact, they felt very fresh and I loved how I would think "oh... it's ina like _" only to have my expectations (often brought on by the tropes we find in current fairy tales) totally thrown out the window. Leigh Bardugo has done something amazing with these few Grisha legends: she has created a whole new form of fairytales, ones where marriage isn't always the solution and often times the witch isn't who you thought they were. These are the fairy tales a lot of little girls all over the world have been wanting since they noticed that every female Grimm and Anderson character usually ends up being saved or dead.

And it was a visual masterpiece! Throughout this book are illustrations that grow bit by bit on every page. Something is always added, removed, or changed and it falls perfectly in place with the development of the story. It couldn't be more apparent than in the last one where the border images go through two complete transformations as the characters change and grow. I found myself stopping to look at the differences and how they tied into the story more time than I could count. And it was not helpful that the artwork done by Sara Kipin was amazing.

Not only that, but these stories were told as if they were fairy tales. they had a dark, foreboding feeling and a prose style that was just screaming to be read aloud by a fire on a cool winter night. While I liked some more than others, I couldn't help but notice how incredible they were and the way they had been placed in the book. The first one has a lot to do with stories and subverting and expectations of ending based on the stories we know which cleverly embeds the idea in the reader that these tails aren't average.

These tales were crafted with care and whit and are great for any Grisha fan or someone looking for a good collection to read before bed could enjoy. Not much knowledge of the Grisha Verse is needed to understand what is going on, and the few things that are mention, generall Grisha and Fjerdan word for "witch" is explained and the included map can help anyone unfamiliar with the layout understand the few areas mentioned.

I would recommend this to anyone who likes Fantasy, fairy tales, and/or the world of Leigh Bardugo.


Bookaxe Characteristics for The Language of Thorns

Character and Plot:

Characters in depth

Fast-paced plot

Language and Style:

Straight to the point

Language and style central

New Information:

Pure entertainment

Introduces you to new ideas


Explores the darker side of life
Light-hearted and optimistic


No swearing or violence etc
Frequent swearing and violence etc

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