Title: The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Page Count: 277
The Language of Thorns is a collection of six tales that are set in the Grisha world. They are very dark, creepy and weird and some of them are very odd. But all of them are written beautifully and I really enjoyed this collection.
Ayama and the Thorn Wood | Rating: 5/5
This was my favorite story in the entire book. It is about a girl named Ayama who is chosen to go into the wild lands where the beast lives and ask him to leave there crops and land alone after he destroyed them. Each time Ayama goes to him she tells him a story.
This story reminded me a lot of Little Red Riding Hood but with Bardugo’s own twist. It was interesting and I enjoyed the fact that I didn’t know what was going to happen while I was reading.
The Too-Clever Fox | Rating: 4/5
A story of a fox, Koja, with an ugly coat gets himself out of all kinds of trouble. When the forest is being attacked by a hunter, Koja tries to outwit the hunter so he can save his forest friends from being killed.
While I did enjoy this story a lot, I totally predicted the ending. I’m not sure where this story drew inspiration from because I can’t think of any tales like this one. But nonetheless, I did enjoy it!
The Witch of Duva | Rating: 4/5
Girls go missing in Duva and that’s why all little girls are required to be indoors when it is dark. But when Nadya gets lost in the woods, she finds a house owned by a witch, Magda. Nadya eats lavish foods and when Magda asks her every day “What is it that you want?” Nadya gives the same response, “I want to go home.” But when Nadya learns the truth of home, she might not want to go back.
When I first finished this story, I thought, “Well that wasn’t that great.” But the more I thought about it the more I grew to like it. It seems to take inspiration from Hansel and Gretel but again with Bardugo’s own twist. I did not see the ending coming for this one and it was so creepy but so well done.
Little Knife | Rating: 3/5
The King is trying to find a husband for his daughter, Yeva, who is so beautiful that people start brawls over her. The prince is trying to win her favor along with a lot of other men. Including Semyon, a Tidemaker. The King gives the men various tasks but never bothers to ask his daughter what she wants.
While I like the aspect of the story, I didn’t like the ending. It left me unsatisfied and wishing that it ended in a different way. I felt that we were being built up in this story to be cheering on one character and by the end it was something totally different.
The Soldier Prince | Rating: 2/5
Droessen makes a nutcracker toy for the girl Clara telling her to tell the toy all her secrets. But when the toy seems to come to life and take Clara on these magical trips she gets upset that she has to return to her real life.
I really didn’t enjoy this one. It did remind me some of The Steadfast Tin Soldier, which I love from Disney’s Fantasia 2000 but this one was just too odd. Most of the time while I was reading, I kept getting confused on what was happening. Also, it’s really long, I think the second longest story in this collection and I just found it boring.
When Water Sang Fire | Rating: 4/5
Ulla has grown up being told that she was born with legs, even though she is a mermaid. She has learned to ignore the rumors but she does feel so different compared to others. She uses her voice and song for magic. And when her and her friend, Signy are invited to go to land with the prince Roffe where Ulla learns the truth about herself.
I love a good mermaid story. I grew up wanting to be a mermaid so I think that’s why I loved this so much. I can see this story being developed with inspiration from The Little Mermaid but I haven’t read the original story, so I’m not sure. I enjoyed it and the characters and it had a great lesson with it.
I loved these stories and even if you haven’t read any of Leigh Bardugo’s work, I think that you could still read this and love these dark tales.