The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

The Language of Thorns is a collection of fantastical short stories based on various fairy tales, myths, and folklore such as: Hansel and Gretel, The Little Mermaid, The Nutcracker and more. Set in the fictional world of the Grishaverse, Leigh Bardugo puts a darker spin on beloved childhood stories. Ayama and the Thorn Wood, a story based in the fictional country of Zemeni, tells a tale of a girl who saves her village without slaying the terrifying beast. The Too-Clever Fox, based in the Russian inspired country of Ravka, tells a story of a fox who managed to outwit anyone he encountered. The Witch of Duva, a darker take on the classic Hansel and Gretel, tells the narrative of a starving village girl trying to survive her evil stepmother. A shorter tale of an outcast, a beautiful girl, and a river, Little Knife is a refreshing break from the typical prince and princess stories. The Soldier Prince, a story that takes place on the island of Kerch, is an invigorating take on the classic ballet The Nutcracker. When Water Sang Fire, my personal favorite, takes a dark and gritty take on the classic story of The Little Mermaid.

I have reread this book so many times and it’s never gotten old. Reading each story feels like I’m reading it for the first time. It’s genuinely so refreshing to read something inspired by fairytales, myth and folklore, that isn’t repeating something I’ve read a million times before. Each story has plot twists, magic, revenge, love, betrayals, and sacrifice.

Bardugo’s writing style is another thing I love about this book. Her descriptions, dialogue, and pacing makes me feel like I’m a part of the story. I’d also like to give credit to Sara Kipin who did the illustrations for this book. Her drawings add another level of depth to these stories and help me visualize even further the scenes in the stories. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a light read that still keeps you interested and engaged.

-Sophia H.

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

3 thoughts on “The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

  1. The title enough made me want to read this book but your description of the book also intrigued me. Thank you for posting this as a recommendation!

  2. The fact that the stories are based on such well known childhood stories sounds really cool. It sounds and looks like a really good book. Thanks for the review!

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