Title: The Language of Thorns
Author: Leigh Bardugo
My Rating: 5/5 stars
After my last two experiences reading the works of Leigh Bardugo, I admit I was beginning to lose faith. Shadow and Bone is one of my all-time favorite trilogies, and Six of Crows is hailed by many. However, after reading Wonder Woman: Warbringer and her short story included in Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, I was disappointed to say the least. I thought that maybe she had lost her touch.
I am happy to say I was wrong.
The Language of Thorns is a collection of short stories set in the world of the Grisha, (aka the Grishaverse). While originally meant to be a prequel to Shadow and Bone, Bardugo took a different route: what are some tales that some of our favorite characters may have been told as children? What are some legends or stories from the Grisha’s past that might interest fans of this world?
Each story was beautifully told and left me feeling breathless, gasping, excited, heartbroken, surprised. It’s a series of stories with no real duds; every one of them was enjoyable and well told. Bardugo admits that she drew inspiration from some classic fairytales, but gave either a darker spin or a beautiful origin story.
Without giving too much away, there are stories originating from different regions of the Grishaverse: from Zemeni, Ravka, Kerch, and Fjerda. Each story is unique with stunning illustrations on every page that pertain to the story. Then at the end of each tale is a full-page illustration, also pertaining to the story. All are in the same style, and all are absolutely beautiful. I didn’t think I’d care much for the pictures before I picked up the book, but now that I have, I appreciate them fully.
Truly, this is some of Bardugo’s most awe-inspiring work. I’m ashamed now that I didn’t read it the moment that I owned it. I hate to leave a review with barely 300+ words, but there’s not much I can say that won’t spoil any of the stories. All I can say is that this is worth the read, and it comes highly recommended.