The Language of Thorns, Leigh Bardugo – Book Review

Hello humans! You may have noticed in the year-or-so that I’ve been blogging that I have developed something of an affection for Leigh Bardugo. I’ve read her Six of Crows duology and adored it, I’ve cooed over Wonder Woman: Warbringer, and I’ve started and loved the Grisha series. I was, of course, delighted to add Bardugo’s collection of short stories Language of Thorns to my collection.

Goodreads Summary:

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.

Find The Language of Thorns on Goodreads

The main selling point of this collection was not, for me, the writing. Not that the writing isn’t phenomenal, but I’ve come to expect that from Bardugo, so it’s not particularly novel (pun intended). What is a wonderful addition are the absolutely stunning illustrations. I adored the way that they built up throughout the story, changing subtly with each page. In some cases, they actually built to reveal elements of the plot along with the writing. It’s a really clever use of both writing and illustration in storytelling. The colour palette is also incredibly pleasing to me, I’m glad I picked up some postcards for this book at YALC last year as I will definitely be pinning them up around my home.

If you love Leigh Bardugo, if you love beautiful books, or if you love short stories (or all of the above) you will definitely enjoy this collection. It’s fierce, it’s spooky and it’s just gorgeous.

My rating: 5/5 stars

What say you? Which of Leigh Bardugo’s works is your favourite? Let me know in the comments below!


12 thoughts on “The Language of Thorns, Leigh Bardugo – Book Review

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      1. Yeees, I loved that one. It was so creepy, too! I loved the first tale about the girl and the monster but my favourite will always be The Witch of Duva. Uff, that one gives me the creeps.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s good, I think it’s a nice one to read when you don’t have time to commit to a full book but you need something to read (like when you’re waiting for the oven to preheat or similar) you know?

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I really like this book as a whole and I think its presentation is gorgeous but I am not completely blown away by it as everyone else seems to be. I didn’t really click with the last couple of stories, especially the mermaid inspired story, so they felt a bit laborious and slow going. However, I think the hype surrounding Leigh Bardugo’s books got to me in general because I’d just finished re-reading The Grisha Trilogy before starting on Language of Thorns and I didn’t really like them as much the second time round.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the mermaid one is the longest and therefore perhaps the most laborious as you say, it definitely wasn’t my favourite. For me, it was the overall package, as well as the idea for creating a folklore and fairytale for a whole different universe? There are plenty of retellings of ‘traditional’ fairytales in fantasy settings but this was something new, does that make any sense?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. I really liked that aspect of it too and for me, that is why I love Leigh Bardugo and her writing.

        Liked by 1 person

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