The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo
Published: September 26th 2017 by MacMillan/Imprint
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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 included:
- Ayama and the Thorn Wood
- The Too-Clever Fox
- The Witch of Duva
- Little Knife
- The Soldier Prince
- When Water Sang Fire
Since I have already written individual reviews on three of them (you can click on the link to read them), I will focus mainly on the three new ones for this particular review.
Bad fates do not always follow those who deserve them
First off, I just wanted to say that the illustrations in the book by Sara Kipin were simply amazing. They were just as creepy and beautiful as the short story they are based upon. Even if you didn’t read the story, the illustrations themselves gave you a visual representation of what was going on during that time. I honestly, would love just a copy of the picture at the end of each story for my office!
This is the problem with making a thing forbidden. It does nothing but build an ache in the heart
Ayama and the Thorn Wood, kind of set up how we can expect the rest of the stories to be. As in not to expect the Brothers Grimm versions, where everyone has a happy ending with the perfect guy and running off into the sunset together. All these fairy tales take on a much darker theme and have completely different messages than the typical fairy tale.
What harm can a little hope do?
I couldn’t tell if Ayama and the Thorn Wood was a retelling or not, but the last two stories was definitely retellings of The Nutcracker and The Little Mermaid. I loved the direction that Bardugo went with these retellings, and if she wanted to do another book just like this (but longer) I would totally be okay with that. These were just the right amount of dark and imaginative that I expect from Bardugo. I don’t want to go into more detail and spoil anything for you, but there was definitely a Darkling cameo in When Water Sang Fire. I didn’t realize that when he first appeared, but by the end I definitely realized who he was and I wanted more!
This goes to show you that sometimes the unseen is not to be feared and that those meant to love us most are not always the ones who do
Overall, I loved this short story collection and was very sad when it ended. Even if you haven’t read any of Bardugo’s other books, you should definitely check this one out. You don’t even have to read the others to understand what is going on since this is basically the Grishaverses version of our Brothers Grimm.