The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
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 a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.
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.
This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.
This book is just so amazingly beautiful, both in the writing and in the presentation. Even if you have no interest in reading it, you really need to pick it up and look inside. The text for every story is a different color and there is a picture that grows with each story that surrounds the text. These illustrations just make the story that much more fascinating and intriguing. I spent a lot of time just looking at the illustrations before I turned the page to continue the story. Some might think they are a distraction, but I really like my books illustrated and usually find that they help the story rather than hinder it.
The stories are also amazing and sometimes very creepy. They are all based on a fairy tale or two, but at times it is hard to tell which one because they are so different from the originals. The one based on Hansel and Gretel, The Witch of Duva, is especially creepy and made my skin crawl by the end. I really liked When Water Sang Fire, which is based on Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid, but has a lot of Siren lore mixed in. If I was forced to pick a favorite it would be that one, but all of the stories are well done and beautiful. I remember thinking as I finished each one, “That one will be my favorite!” but they are all so different from each other it really is hard to pick just one.
Even though the stories are set in the Grieshaverse, you don’t have to have read any of the other books to appreciate them. This is a good introduction to Leigh Bardugo’s writing style and to the world that she has created. There is only one story that involves Grieshas, but you don’t need to know anything about them to appreciate it. I don’t often read short story collections, but this one is exceptional and has earned a special spot on my bookshelf.