The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

The Language of Thorns

“This is the problem with even lesser demons. They come to your doorstep in velvet coats and polished shoes. They tip their hats and smile and demonstrate good table manners. They never show you their tails.” 

When Leigh Bardugo does dark, she does it masterfully with nastiness, twists, romance, and sometimes a glimmer of hopeThe Language of Thorns is a collection of fairytales from the Grishaverse. But leave behind any expectations you may have about fairytales, heroes, villains, princes, and monsters because Leigh Bardugo will shatter them.

“You know how the stories go. Interesting things only happen to pretty girls; you will be home by sunset.”

Going into this jewel of a book, I thought I would know how the tales would end—with shining princes, damsels saved, monsters slain, and wicked step-mothers foiled. But Leigh Bardugo draws inspiration from tales we know and love: Hansel and Gretel, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and The Ugly Duckling to name a few, and subverts our expectations. Leigh Bardgo manipulates language in the most beautiful way and challenges her readers’ beliefs.

“There is no pain like the pain of transformation.”

Each of these tales is dark, rich, and haunting in their own ways. They are universal with characters, stories, and lessons that will stay with the reader long after the final page has been turned. My personal favorites were “Ayama and the Thorn Wood,” “The Soldier Prince”, and “When Water Sang Fire,” but each of these tales was wonderful.

This collection was especially delightful for fans of the Grishaverse. I could imagine characters I loved from the Shadow and Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology growing up with these tales.

“This is the problem with making a thing forbidden. It does nothing but build an ache in the heart.”

This is such a delightful and dark collection, perfect for fans of the Grishaverse and those with dark romantic hearts. Bardugo is a master writer and storyteller, and I can only hope this will be the first of many short story collections.

“We were not made to please princes.”

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