2021 Book Review Fantasy

The Language of Thorns

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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.

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 collection of short stories was an enticing and quick read that I thoroughly enjoyed. Each story brought beautiful twists and turns to the kind of fantasy stories we are typically used to and produced amazing messages and morals. I was completely enthralled by the lives of each character featured in the stories and was always satisfied with the ending of each fable. As I said before, this novel was a quick and easy read which made this reading experience even better. If this novel turned out to be long and tedious it would not have held the same magic. These short stories aren’t meant to be fully fleshed novels and I think the way each story was executed matched this perfectly. Another amazing thing about this novel is that it featured beautiful illustrations on every page. The ever growing illustrations on the page may even be why I completed this novel so quickly. I couldn’t wait to turn the page and see where the art would go.


There are so many characters introduced throughout these six stories that it is hard to think of favorites so all I will say about favorites is that the last story, When the Water Sang Fire, provided some characters I still think about after finishing it. But, now that I’ve written down a partial favorite, I’ve already started thinking about how every other story provided characters I love just as much. All six stories included complex characters that I fell in love with immediately.


This novel provided stories that I know I will not forget soon and I’m really glad I decided to pick up this book. This is definitely something people who enjoy the Grishaverse should pick up and even if you have no idea what the Grishaverse is, if you enjoy fables and fairytales this is for you.


All the beautiful illustrations in this novel are by Sara Kipin. This book is as much as Sara Kipin’s as it is Leigh Bardugo’s.

Let’s Talk:
  • Do you enjoy Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse novels?
  • Do you like reading novels inspired by fables and fairytales?
    • What is your favorite?

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