Author: Leigh Bardugo
Illustrator: Sara Kipin
Year published: 2017
- Plot: 5/5
- Characters: 5/5
- Writing: 5/5
- Overall: 5/5
The Language of Thorns was very literally a work of art. Each of the six stories have very clear links to fairy tales we know and love, the only difference is, they’re much, much better! The language is so vivid and gorgeous but the illustrations were the icing on the cake. On every page of each story a bit of border was added on the outside till finally at the end your eyes are blasted with an intricate, full-page wonder.
The first story is Ayama and the Thorn wood which is based on Beauty and the Beast but focuses more on the Beast aspect than the Beauty. It also has similarities to the Minotaur legend. It rewrites the stereotypes we are familiar with and I really enjoyed it.
The second story is The Too Clever Fox. It’s so unsettling. It gave me chills. The main lesson is: never, ever underestimate anyone. I did not see this plot twist coming, it just jumped out at me at the last moment.
The third story is The Witch of Duva and I found this one terrifying! You can tell it was inspired by Hansel and Gretel but it has been taken in a totally new direction which was downright sinister! I still loved it but I implore you to not read this story anywhere near midnight.
The fourth story is Little Knife, in all honesty this was my least favourite story but one of my favourite illustrations was at the end of it. The concept was nice though.
The fifth story was The Soldier Prince which I would describe as being a very complex version of the Nutcracker and it’s all about the suble boundarirs between ideas, dreams and reality.
The last and longest story was When Water Sang Fire which has an appearance of a beloved Grisha character (I will not spoil). It was my favourite but also the most painful. It’s basically if The Little Mermaid was based on Ursula.
Overall, I adored this book and would recommend it to those who like to get cosy and immerse themselves in a lavishly told fairy tale with a nuanced or not-so-happy ending