Having read and loved both of Bardugo's series set in the Grishaverse, I knew I had to pick this book up. While I found that the stories had less to do with the Grishaverse and more to do with being general fairy tales, I still enjoyed the book.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review. Today it is The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Like other collections of short stories, I will briefly discuss each story individually instead of trying to create one large synopsis.

"Ayama and the Thorn Wood"
This was a really interesting story that had some vaguely Beauty and the Beast vibes. It explains the king and the labyrinth that I’m vaguely remembering from the trilogy? It’s been so long since I read the series that I am a little foggy on the details but I think there was a labyrinth beneath the castle. Either way a very well written story, 4/5 stars.

"The Too-Clever Fox"
This was another good story. I guessed the twist at basically the beginning of the story, but it was an interesting enough story that it didn’t really matter much. The illustrations with the story were really well done and I loved the final image, 3/5 stars.

"The Witch of Duva"
This was a story reminiscent of Hansel and Greta but with a twist that I definitely did not see coming! After finishing the book and reading Bardugo's Author Note, I now know why she was interested in looking at the father, as well as the 'evil' stepmother. This was a really great twist on a classic story and I would have loved to see a full book for this story, 4/5 stars.

"Little Knife"
This was an interesting story about women and beauty. I really liked the message of this story but generally speaking, I didn’t love the content itself. It seemed a little meh to me for most of the story, but it was a quick read that was good enough, 3/5 stars.

"The Soldier Prince"
I didn’t love this one as much as the others. I didn’t really see the purpose of it and while it was interesting, it didn’t really seem to have a clear flow. I think there are supposed to be some Velveteen Rabbit like influences in this one, but I am not familiar enough with that story to really get the full effect, 3/5 stars.

"When Water Sang Fire"
I also didn't love this one as much as the others. It had an origin story of Ursula from the Little Mermaid vibe, which was interesting, but I didn't really figure that out until the ending. If I had known that going in, I think I would have been more interested and would have liked it better, 3/5 stars.

I think the biggest issue I have with this book was that it really has very little to do with the Grishaverse. They are a solid collection of fairytale reimaginings, but they weren't marketed that way. If I had gone in knowing that Bardugo wrote these and that they were fairytales with a unique spin, I would have loved them a lot more. I kept trying to figure out if there were parts that related to the trilogy and I couldn't find many. I wish I had read the author's note first because as Bardugo explains, these are stories the characters would have heard growing up, much like we did with the original tales. These are not really related to the Grisha-sphere and I think that was where I had most of my issues.

I am sure there are lots of allusions to the Grishaverse that I missed, but I would definitely say that you could read these stories at any point in either of the series. The aspects incorporated from the main series are so minor that unless you are paying close attention won't tell you too much about the series. There weren't any spoilers that I found (keep in mind that I read Shadow and Bone roughly 3 years and 500+ books ago, so I may not be the best authority on this).

Overall, this was a quick collection of interesting fairytale stories done with Bardugo's classic dark twist.