Review: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Orion Children’s Books

Publication date: 26 September 2017

Page numbers: 304 pages

Format: Hardback

Rating: 5 out of 5

This review is spoiler-free.

So as I’m sure many of you have realised by now, I am a huge fan of Leigh Bardugo. So it came as no surprise that I felt The Language of Thorns was absolute perfection.


LanguageOfThorns_FC-2Love 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, 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. *


There isn’t a whole lot I can say about this book without spoilers. It is divided into six stories — all of which should feel familiar to the reader. Each story takes a tale or folk story, such as Beauty and the Beast or The Little Mermaid, and adapts them to the various regions of the Grishaverse. Rather than a straight retelling, Bardugo’s tales only take inspiration from these familiar stories, twisting them into something new and compelling.  

Something I really loved about this book is the illustrations that accompany each story. Along the edges of the page, you’ll see a border develop alongside the story.  The Language of Thorns is just an all-around beautiful book.

It was actually difficult to choose a single story as my favourite from this book.  If I had to choose, it would either be The Witch of Duva, which is inspired by Hansel and Gretel (ironically, my least favourite fairy tale), or The Soldier Prince, which takes it’s inspiration from The Nutcracker. I thought these two in particular were fantastically done and just so well written.

I don’t want to say too much more about this book.  If you’re a fan of Leigh Bardugo’s books, The Language of Thorns is a must-have.  I’d even recommend getting it in the gorgeous hardcover edition.  

Have you read The Language of Thorns? What was your favourite story?  Let me know!

Buy The Language of Thorns here:


Book Depository


*copy courtesy of Goodreads

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