The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

The Language of Thorns (The Language of Thorns)

by Leigh Bardugo

From bestselling author of SIX OF CROWS, Leigh Bardugo, comes a lavishly illustrated collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice and love.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale and folklore, THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS will transport you to both lands familiar and strange that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

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, 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.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans of the Grishverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them beautifully illustrated with art by Sara Kiplin that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

Reviewed by ammaarah on

4 of 5 stars

"You know how the stories go. Interesting things only happen to pretty girls; you will be home by sunset." (Ma Zil to Ayama, Ayama and the Thorn Wood)

What an awesome anthology of short stories from the Grishaverse! The stories in The Language of Thorns are dark, feminist and delicious.

The short stories from The Language of Thorns have some similarities to fairytales such as Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, The Ugly Duckling, The Nutcracker and Little Mermaid, but they are much more darker, honest, brutal, cruel, realistic and human. I was looking forward to the twists, turns and trope subversions and couldn't turn the pages fast enough to see how Bardugo was going to spin a well known tale and make it her own.

My favourite stories in The Language of Thorns are Ayama and the Thorn Wood, The Witch of Duva and When Water Sang Fire (a origin story for Ursula from The Little Mermaid that I adored). However, there are a few stories that miss the mark.

I can't wait to read more of Leigh Bardugo's short stories. She certainly has a knack for telling them.
"We were not made to please princes." (When Water Sang Fire)

Last modified on

Reading updates

  • 12 July, 2018: Started reading
  • 13 July, 2018: Finished reading
  • 13 July, 2018: Reviewed