THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS by Leigh Bardugo

THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS

Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 12 - 16
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Six reimagined fairy tales set in the Grishaverse.

Bardugo returns to the setting of Shadow and Bone (2012) with both original tales and familiar ones retold. Three are set in the Russia-like Ravka, including “The Witch of Duva.” This “Hansel and Gretel” variant plays on stereotypes about villainy held by protagonist Nadya. (It also replaces candy with mouthwatering meals: “crispy roast goose,” “butter-soaked blini,” “black bread spread with soft cheese,” “hot tea laced with sugar,” “sweet rolls with prune jam.”) From the island nation of Kerch, there’s “The Soldier Prince,” a retelling of The Nutcracker that raises questions about the selfhood of magical creatures. The Fjerdan “When Water Sang Fire” provides a villain origin story for “The Little Mermaid” that owes far more to Disney than to Hans Christian Andersen; it’s nevertheless gorgeously otherworldly. Only the Ravkan stories offer substantial local flavor, though Zemeni Ayama is brown-skinned while the Fjerdan mermaids are fair. Kipin’s two-color illustrated borders build cumulatively and fascinatingly, culminating in a double-page spread for each story. The more stylized illustrations, such as the thorns and labyrinth building slowly around the “Beauty and the Beast” variant “Ayama and the Thorn Wood,” are the most successful; depictions of people are a little cutesy for the eerie prose.

Any lover of retellings or original fairy tales will enjoy these offerings, whether they’re new to Bardugo’s worlds or are established fans. (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-250-12252-0
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Imprint
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2017




9 PAGE-TURNERS TOO ADDICTIVE TO PUT DOWN:

FictionORIGIN by Dan Brown
by Dan Brown
MysteryBLUEBIRD, BLUEBIRD by Attica Locke
by Attica Locke
MysteryDEEP FREEZE by John Sandford
by John Sandford
FictionSLEEPING BEAUTIES by Stephen King
by Stephen King
ChildrenONE DARK THRONE  by Kendare Blake
by Kendare Blake

OUR CRITICS' TAKES ON MORE BESTSELLERS

See full list >
Cover art for PROMISE ME, DAD
VERDICT:
BORROW IT
Cover art for THE WHISPERING ROOM
VERDICT:
SKIP IT
Cover art for HERE WE ARE
VERDICT:
BORROW IT
Cover art for THE MAGIC MISFITS
VERDICT:
SKIP IT

MORE BY LEIGH BARDUGO

ChildrenWONDER WOMAN by Leigh Bardugo
by Leigh Bardugo
ChildrenCROOKED KINGDOM by Leigh Bardugo
by Leigh Bardugo
ChildrenSIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo
by Leigh Bardugo

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenTHE MAGIC CIRCLE by Donna Jo Napoli
by Donna Jo Napoli
ChildrenIMPOSSIBLE by Nancy Werlin
by Nancy Werlin