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The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic Paperback – 11 Oct 2017
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'Lushly designed and wonderfully rendered ... Bardugo doesn't twist familiar tales so much as rip them open'
Gorgeously otherworldly...Any lover of retellings or original fairy tales will enjoy
'Every story is superb, Leigh Bardugo has an honest, vibrant voice that's capable of unfolding her imaginings with true skill. Sara Kiplin's beautiful illustrations grow in complexity . . . making this a sumptuous feast for the mind and eyes'
It's like THE HUNGER GAMES meets POTTER meets TWILIGHT meets LORD OF THE RINGS meets GAME OF THRONES; basically epic magical fantasy but completely for grown-ups
Bardugo outdoes herself with this book, creating the gorgeously built backdrop of Ketterdam and populating it with a sophisticated cast of rogues and criminals. SIX OF CROWS is a twisty and elegantly crafted masterpiece that thrilled me from beginning to end
Cracking page-turner with a multi-ethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family.
A delicious blend of masterfully executed elements... Bardugo outdoes herself in this exhilarating follow-up, and series fans will have their eyes glued to every page.
Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, no. 1 New York Times-bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice and love.
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The book is a collection of stories that can be classified as new-age fairy tales I suppose. They are all absolute gems. They seem to have a very Russian tilt to them, with underlying dark themes and the snowy landscapes in most of them. There are six tales and each page of the book carries at least a bit of illustration on it. The palette is made up of blues and reds with black outlines and works absolute wonders for the stories. At the beginning of each tale, there is a small motif on one edge of both facing pages, which then keep evolving until the end when they cover the entire border of both pages.
Ayama and the thornwood is the story of a young girl who is neglected by her family in favour of her much prettier and accomplished sister and who is then sent by them on a dangerous quest. This story would have echoes of the Arabian Nights tale, where the young girl must entertain the king with a story every night to save her life. Also, beauty and the beast to some extent. There is even a moral to the story like all good fairy tales and it was very uplifting in the end.
The too-clever fox is just what the name suggests – the story of a fox who considers himself too smart to be caught by lesser mortals. Once again the moral is very obvious , ‘Pride comes before a fall’ , just wrapped in a wonderful new package.
The witch of Duva is a take on Hansel and Gretel, it would seem. A very dark and disturbing one at that. A young girl must leave her home to go into the forest where she encounters a witch with a huge oven. Only, in the end, all things work out for the best.
Little Knife is about a river, the man who controls it and a beautiful princess. There are many men vying for the hand of the beautiful princess and then a poor nobody seems to be the one winning. What follows is another completely unexpected turn of events and was very enjoyable to read.
The soldier prince was another story that disturbed me a lot. It’s the story of a nutcracker who comes to life in the hands of a little girl and begins to believe in the world she has created for herself. Until, that is, the day that he puts himself first. This tale has a lot of sadness and malice in it even if it teaches us to be brave and master our weaknesses.
When water sang fire is about mermaids but so different from any other stories that I have read to date about them. It is about friendship and loyalty and betrayal in equal doses and was chockful of magic. It seems to be a back story for Ursula the witch in the little mermaid story, and makes one actually begin to sympathize with her.
This book deserves to be read and savoured for the wonderful imagination of the author and the lovely illustrations that adorn this book. I really wish more publishing houses will bring out illustrated editions of their works because its just so much more fun.
Despite the fact that I’m not the biggest fan of short stories or anthologies, when Leigh Bardugo announced that she was writing one for the Grishaverse, completed with ILLUSTRATIONS, I knew I would be reading this book.
Leigh Bardugo is one of my ALL TIME FAVOURITE authors ever since I dove into Shadow and Bone, way back when it wasn’t called that, but it was called The Gathering Dark. I fell in LOVE with the Grisha Trilogy and then when the Six of Crows Duology released, I knew that I would always read this brilliant author’s brilliant books.
If you don’t already know, my main reason for not liking short stories are that they seem so incomplete to me and the minute I get invested, the story is over. Poof. And yet, not once in these reimagined fairy tales did I feel like that. I was either mesmerized by Leigh’s magical writing style, in awe of Sara Kipin’s illustrations or just waiting to see what would happen next.
Let’s break this down story wise:
1) Amaya and the Thorn Wood:
I love books about girls with strong hearts who know only to tell the truth and aren’t fooled by frivolities. Amaya was one of these girls and the story of her, a great bear and tales weaved around sadness, love and those who are supposed to love us and sisterhood wrung my heart. I love how this story was told with a stark, honest voice and it was definitely me favourite in the collection.
2) The Too Clever Fox:
Before I began this story, I thought it was about Prince Nikolai Lantsov, the prince whose nickname was the Clever Fox. He comes in the Grisha trilogy, makes an appearance in the Sic of Crown duology and now, HE’S GETTING HIS OWN SERIES.
Which is beside the point because this story is all about an actual fox and the wit he uses to survive. There’s a hunter, friendship, love, betrayal and wit that will make you smile.
3) The Witch Of Duva:
This story is a reimagined Hansel and Gretel retelling, and it’s reimagined in a way only Leigh Bardugo could. Who is the person at fault? The wicked stepmother, the evil witch or the spineless father? I loved how magic was weaved into this tale, and you’ll get no spoilers from me. Just know that this isn’t your traditional fairy tale.
4) Little Knife:
I ADORED this story because for the first time, Grisha power was mentioned and used. This story revolves around tasks set to win the hand of the fairest maiden in the land and the magic that surrounds it all. It’s filled with Tidemaker power and I loved every second of it.
5) The Soldier Prince:
This story is a reimagined Nutcracker story with Grisha Fabrikator magic and the spirit of a toy who learns to find his own desires. This is probably one of the more out there stories in this collection, but I loved it anyway.
6) When Water Sang Fire:
This was my second favourite story in this collection because it had mermaids, sisterhood, music, magic and most importantly, a character who is one of my favourites from the Grisha trilogy and I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT. Also, IS SHE STILL ALIVE AND WILL WE BE MEETING HER IN THE NEXT PART OF THE GRISHA SERIES?
A mystical, magical collection of re-imagined fairy tales written in a way only a true master like Leigh Bardugo could, with illustrations that bring words to life. 4.5 stars.
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