Tuesday, December 26, 2017

[Book Review] The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

When I won a copy of The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo from Jessica at A Great Read, I couldn't wait to dive in!

While I enjoyed the illustrations, unfortunately, this one was a miss for me.

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

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.

My thoughts:
My favorite element of this book were the illustrations! I loved that they started small in the margins of the pages and then grew, adding new elements as each story went on. The colors of the illustrations were also really fun; I liked that they were all the same color scheme as the text with splashes of black, white, and the other main color here and there.

But speaking of the color scheme... I didn’t like that the text itself was in varying colors depending on the chapter. I would have greatly preferred for the text to be simple black or a dark gray as the maroon and blue text was a bit hard for me to read.

I did enjoy the stories overall. Unfortunately, most of them just seemed to drag. Perhaps I picked this up at a bad time, but I was never fully interested in any of the stories. I found that each time I put the book down, I was slow to pick it back up which is always a bummer.

Here are my unedited, quick notes that I jotted down after reading each story:

Ayama and the Thorn Wood-
I enjoyed this one, though it seemed to drag a bit.

The Too-Clever Fox-
I really enjoy how this one ended. I picked up on a few foreshadowing elements during the story and by watching the illustration change, which was really fun! As a whole though, it just didn’t hook me.

The Witch of Duva-
This one was interesting, but quite strange. The pacing dragged a bit for me a couple times.

Little Knife-
I was getting a bit annoyed with the pacing of the story, but I enjoyed the idea behind this story. I also liked the ending!

The Soldier Prince-
This one was so much fun! I loved the twist on the story about Clara and the Nutcracker. The pacing was perfect and I really enjoyed seeing how the illustration grew as the story went on.

When Water Sang Fire-
This story was fun. I enjoyed the twist on the Little Mermaid tale. Unfortunately, I just kept losing interest. A few times I found myself skimming and had to go back to re-read a few paragraphs.

My final thoughts:
Overall, I did enjoy this read. I always have fun reading new takes on fairy tales. Unfortunately, I think this one is going to be pretty forgettable for me as the only element that really captured my attention was the use of illustration.

However, I would definitely recommend giving this book a read if you also enjoy fairy tale renditions with a bit of a dark twist.

Thanks for reading!
What is your favorite fairy tale collection?


  1. I'm sorry the story just doesn't stack up to the illustration. I'm glad it's visually enjoyable.

    Lonna @ FLYLÄ“F

  2. I agree 100% on this one! I'm a huge fan of the illustrations but the stories just didn't do it for me. Leigh Bardugo has always been very hit or miss for me so I'll probably still pick up whatever she does after this, but hopefully it'll be better

    1. I've heard a few people say the same thing today. I haven't tried any of her other work, but now I'm certainly a bit more hesitant. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Oh no, sorry this was very hit and miss for you :( I adore Leigh Bardugo, but I guess every author has their weaker books.
    Yay for great illustrations, though! Those look fantastic.

    Lovely review, Erica :)

    1. I hope you have better luck reading this one! :)

  4. Although the book looks absolutely beautiful - cover and illustrations included, it doesn't sound too captivating. Nonetheless I still really want to read it D:

    1. Definitely! It's so worth reading just for the illustrations alone :) I hope you have better luck than I did though!