The Language of Thorns | 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.


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The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic
Series: The Grishaverse 0.5, 2.5, 2.6
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Format: Signed Hardcover, 281 pgs
• B&N • Add to GR

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, 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.


I am usually one who doesn’t enjoy short stories. It’s far too short to convey much and far too long to be quick. When I bought this, I was mostly tempted by the fact that it was a signed edition. With no prior knowledge of what it is about or who Leigh even is. And boy am I glad for not resisting that temptation.

This book is simply wonderful. It contains a collection of retellings of new stories or of my favorite tales.

Ayama And The Thorn Wood: Is about Ayama who isn’t as beautiful or charming as her older sister. She ends up being treated like Cinderella by her family. On the other side, we have a King who birthed a wolf boy then locked up his son in a maze. This boy grew up to be a beast and escaped his fathers castle to terrorize the town. Ayama was sacrificed by her family to go and negotiate with the beast.

I absolutely loved this. It was incredibly meaningful, thoughtful and eventful. Perhaps it has a mixture of Cinderella and Beauty and The Beast in it. I’m not entirely sure of the origin of this story.

The Too Clever Fox: Koja is an ugly fox born to a vain mother. She almost eats him but is charmed by her sons silver tongue and keeps him alive. Koja grows up in the forest being mocked for his ugliness. The story follows his adventures and near death experiences that he manages to escape due to his cleverness.

The ending was something I saw coming but then due to Bardugo’s plot progression I was convinced impossible. Only to have it thrown back to my face. Let’s just say, people aren’t who they seem…

The Witch Of Duva: I’m almost positive is a retelling of Hansel and Gretel. Yet things don’t go the way you think they should. Nadya and Havel lose their mother and are left in the care of their busy father. Havel leaves his sister to join the army. While Nadya is left to deal with Karina, her new stepmother. Girls start to go missing in the forest and Karina starts encouraging Nadya to hunt at night..

Wow, this has to be one of my favorites of the bunch. It’s one of the longest in this collection and it still didn’t feel like enough. I can see myself reading this again and again and again. Nadya and Karina seriously need a part two to their story. Did Havel know? Why did he/she do it? Where did all the girls go? How did the mother die? I have so many questions I need answered.

Little Knife: In my opinion, I think this is a retelling of The Princess and The Pea. Except the roles are reversed. Yeva is the stunningly beautiful daughter of a rich merchant. Her father wants to take advantage of her beauty and marry her off to the richest man. So he devises three tasks for her suitors to accomplish in order to win her hand in marriage. Semyon, is a poor man who can bend water. He wishes to marry Yeva but isn’t smart, handsome or rich enough to do so. Therefore, he enlists the power of the river to help him through the tasks.

I’m not exactly sure what happened here. But Girl Power! Don’t you just love it when the girls point out the flaws of the males in the tales. I mean seriously, how dumb is that dad?

“Papa, forgive me, but what way is this to find a husband? Soon I will have a fine mirror, but will I have a good man?”

The Soldier Prince: The Nutcracker! It’s a retelling of the Nutcracker!! I love this soo much. What a wonderful surprise this was to find! This is definitely not at all what it seems! The ending was chilling and had me thirsty for more. I mean, what happens to all of them! You can’t just leave me hanging!

When Water Sang Fire: This is the story of Ursula the Sea Witch and how she came to be the villain. The longest story out of all of them and one of my favorites. This is incredibly creative and makes a lot of sense in terms of what happens to Ariel later on in the movie/story. Bardugo gives a lot of thought in this backstory and makes you sympathize with Ursula a great deal.

Wow I ended up writing way more than what I was expecting. This book is worth every penny spent on it. The illustrations are stunning and it’s intriguing to watch the images change with every page flip. You don’t need to read any of Bardugo’s previous work to enjoy this.

Until Next Time,


*Images link back to source. 


Final Rating:



What did you think of this book, have you read anything similar to it? Or do you have any recommendations for me to try? Lets chat, don’t worry, I don’t bite. ^^

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