Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Imprint (Macmillan), 2017 (Hardcover)
Length: 280 pages
Genre: Young Adult; Fantasy
Started: November 1, 2017
Finished: November 5, 2017
From the inside cover:
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, folklore, and fairytale, #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.
I read the Shadow and Bone trilogy (Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising) years ago and adored it, so once I heard the author was releasing a short story compilation from the same world, I knew it would be awesome, and it is indeed.
The Language of Thorns is comprised of six stories from various locations in the Grishaverse world, most from Ravkan, but also one each from Zemeni, Kerch, and Fjerdan. You don't need to be familiar with the author's previous books to enjoy these stories, they all stand on their own as enjoyable pieces of fiction with no background knowledge needed. The author's note at the back of the book states that the author's inspiration for these stories were feelings of unease she felt as a child while reading traditional fairy tales. Those feelings are reflected in these stories, since most are adaptations of traditional tales we all know well, with some major twists to them, especially in "The Witch of Duva" and "When Water Sang Fire". All the tales are beautiful, but my personal favourites are "Ayama and the Thorn Wood" and "When Water Sang Fire."
Another aspect I have to mention is the simply gorgeous illustrations done by artist Sara Kipin. Her drawings are on every page, and the progression is amazing. They begin very simply, and with every page more is added or in some cases even changed, until the end of the story reveals a drawing on a full-page spread. It's hard to describe properly, but hopefully the pictures below will help:
Simply stunning, both the writing and the visuals. If you enjoy folktales that aren't your usual fare, then you will surely enjoy this.
Thoughts on the cover:
The picture doesn't do justice to the cover, it has lovely copper tones with light blue for the thorns, plus everything is embossed, which is a bonus.