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Friday Book Review: The Language of Thorns



The fox

For this weeks book review, I read something a little different. This book was a book of short stories called The language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. The book consists of six short stories that have all incorporated fairy tale elements or were based off of fairy tales. One story was about a girl who goes into a dark forest to ask the beast that resides there to stop eating all of the cattle on the land. Another story is about a boy who tries to control the water and win the hand of a dukes daughter. Each of these stories contain fantasy elements and they teach some sort of lesson at the end. I found each of these stories to be intriguing and mystical. I have always been a fan of fairy tales since I was a kid. I first watched the Disney movies that were inspired by the works of The Brothers Grimm and then later read their works.

I could tell that some of these stories had been inspired by The Brothers Grimm and other classic fairy tales. One story in particular When Water Sang Fire seemed to be heavily based off of The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson (The writer also mentions that in the Authors Note section at the very end of the book). This story was about two mermaid friends, Ulla and Signy, who become friends after they are paired up together in their choir class. Ulla has greyish skin and black hair, who often gets gossiped about because she looks different from the rest. Whereas,  Signy has red hair and is often complemented on her beauty. These two mermaids transform into humans and live on land for a few months. Personally, this was one of my favorite stories because A.) it reminded me of Disney’s The Little Mermaid albeit a little darker and B.) because it had a compelling story and characters, not to mention a twist at the end.

Another story I really enjoyed was the first one, Ayama and the Thorn wood. This story is about a girl who lives in this village who is mistreated y her own family because they think that she is unattractive, while her older sister is considered beautiful, and worshiped by many in the village because they believe that she is a gift. Ayama is pressured to go into the woods to ask the beast to stop eating  the cattle and killing the kings soldiers. One of my favorite parts of the story was when Ayama was telling the beast stories. Each story she told represented her life in some way, and her and the beast form an unlikely bond.

This is the first book I’ve read by Leigh Bardugo and apparently all of her works are set in The Grishaverse. This book also happens to take place in the Grishaverse. There were times when I was a little bit confused by all of the references and places mentioned since I am not familiar with that world. However, it didn’t take away from my reading experience. I still thought that the characters and story was compelling enough to keep on reading. Normally, I don’t read a book of short stories, however, I found myself entranced by all of the stories and beautiful illustrations by Sarah Kipin. The illustrations are one of the main reasons why I bought this book in the first place.When I picked up this book, I flipped through the pages and the illustrations looked unique and beautiful .

If you enjoy fairy tales, fantasy, and amazing illustrations, then I highly recommend this book. I thought that each story told a compelling story from beginning to end in just a short amount of pages. This is a book for people of all ages to enjoy.

Here are some of the illustrations by Sarah Kipin below:


Illustration from Ayama and the Thorn Wood



The Witch of Duval

The Witch


Little Knife

Little Knife


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