The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Pages: 280

Genre: fantasy, fairytales

fire

“The beast might shout and snarl, and he might well devour her, but he’d at least been interested enough to listen to her speak.”

A new collection of short fairytale-inspired fantasy stories, some set in the grisha universe. I’ve never seen illustrations that fits the stories so well, and it’s a treat as the picture becomes more complete each time you turn the page.

I have a long and bumpy history with fairytale retellings, mostly irritated by them not modernizing or putting a twist on traditional fairytales, or doing so and forgetting to be a complete and good book as well. The stories in this book definitely mantained the magic and mysterious feeling of fairytales, while having more depth and interesting characters, not to mention the great endings. In some stories it’s clear right away where the inspiration is from, personally I seem to like the stories that were most unlike the original. While I like Bardugo’s writing, I feel it can sometimes become too focused on being clever and unexpected than actually keeping a reader attentive to the story itself. I’ve felt it in books like “crooked kingdom” before, and it seem to be more of a problem when the fairytale behind the story was obvious. It’s tricky, because the cleverness is arguably what makes her stand out as an author as well.

I have two favourite stories that I would recommend this book for alone. “When water sang fire” is the last story and I got pulled in to the relationship between Ulla and Signy and how it would play out. Also I love mermaids. “Ayama and the thorn wood a strong second “ is a close second for me, just the spirit of that girl and how she overcomes her circumstances is lovely to read.

*spoiler below*

An example of the lovely drawings, that spoils some of the plot of one story, but included as a reason you need to get this book in physical form.

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