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.
Enter 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.
Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, the tales in The Language of Thorns will transport you to lands both familiar and strangeto 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, each of them lavishly illustrated and culminating in stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.
An Imprint Book
This title has Common Core connections.
A New York Times Bestseller
"Lushly designed and wonderfully rendered ... Bardugo doesn’t twist familiar tales so much as rip them open." Booklist, starred review
"Strong writing, compelling stories, and gorgeous illustrations make this collection a must-have." School Library Journal, starred review
"Beautiful imagery conceived from precise, beautiful prose; beautiful cover image and interior illustrations that creep across each page toward a beautiful consummation; beautiful lands inhabited by beautiful hearts." VOYA, starred review
"Elegantly crafted...stylishly intricate illustrations...all fans of the darker side of folktales and folktale-like stories will find the stories satisfyingly full of pain, danger, and vengeance." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review
"Gorgeously otherworldly...Any lover of retellings or original fairy tales will enjoy." Kirkus Reviews
“Gorgeous, cruel and almost wistful windows onto the dreamscapes and hard lessons of [Bardugo’s] alternate universe … fairy tales with all the darkness intact.” NPR Book Review
"Those who seem innocent are shown to be guilty, one-dimensional characters become more complicated, and mothers who once were absent are given presence and power.” Mashable
"This new collection will intrigue, awe, frighten, and inspire both stalwart fans and new readers looking for a heady spoonful of fantasy.” Hypable
"This nightmare-inducing collection is short but powerful, each tale as brilliant and absorbing as the one before... brilliant storytelling” Romantic Times
"Marvelous tales, as full of twists and delights and strangeness as anything found in the Grimm Brothers. Leigh Bardugo is a master." Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.00(d)|
|Age Range:||12 - 17 Years|
About the Author
Leigh Bardugo is a #1 New York Times–bestselling author of fantasy novels and the creator of the Grishaverse. With over one million copies sold, her Grishaverse spans the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, and The Language of Thornswith more to come. Her short stories can be found in multiple anthologies, including Some of the Best from Tor.com and The Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy. Her other works include Wonder Woman: Warbringer and Ninth House. Leigh was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and even makeup and special effects. These days, she lives and writes in Hollywood, where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.
Illustrator Sara Kipin is best known for her fantasy works portraying strong, self-empowered, feminine characters. Her style is inspired by early animation and romantic paintings. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art and currently lives in Burbank, California.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
These stories were the first truly amazing thing I’ve read this year. I knew that Leigh would not let me down, because anything she writes, especially in the Grisha world, is beyond amazing. The book was so deliciously dark, more so than anything else I’ve read from her, which is why I love it so much. Every story kept me captivated, which is not usually the case for anthologies; and I hope with all of my heart that she adds more short stories to this world. I’m not going to go into much detail, especially since there are so many different plots woven intricately into their own little universes; but just know that if you read this, you will be blown away by the beautiful writing and captivating plots. It doesn’t matter how much you like her other books, this is truest something different and hauntingly fantastic. Go read it, you won’t be disappointed.
"Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns." I wanted to read this fairytale collection before I jump into the Grisha trilogy. Which I’m determines to start this year. I’ve read the Six of Crows duology and while I liked it, I remember virtually nothing about it. I do have to say that I’m happy to be in this world again, and it’s even more fantastical and alluring than I remember. Ayama and the Thorn Wood | ★★★★★ “This goes to show you that sometimes the unseen is not to be feared and that those meant to love us most are not always the ones who do.” This collection started off with a bang. It’s a Cinderella meets Beauty and the Beast-inspired story, and it ended up being my favorite out of all of them. The writing was so whimsical and beautiful - it felt like a fairytale. I loved seeing the Ayama’s journey evolve and the storytelling element woven in. The Too Clever Fox | ★★☆☆☆ “I can bear ugliness,” he said. “I find the one thing I cannot live with is death.” This wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t anything special. If you’ve read one story about hubris, you’ve read them all. This is just forgettable, and the phrase “a lesser creature” was used too often. This was easily my least favorite story. The Witch of Duva | ★★★☆☆ “Dark things have a way of slipping through narrow spaces.” This short story felt more atmospheric, with the woods and the dark, distrustful nature of the town. I definitely got some Hansel and Gretel vibes from this story, but I didn’t care about the characters at all really. There was also some second person perspective going on and I didn’t like it, it took me out of the story here. Little Knife | ★★★★☆ “Papa, Yeva said to the duke, desperate to stand beneath an open sky again. Why must I be the one to hide?” This was a beautiful story about respect. Respecting others, respecting nature, respecting yourself. It also addressed entitlement and greed in incredibly relevant ways. It was just a fantastic tale, and felt important. The Soldier Prince | ★★★☆☆ (3.5 Stars) “I know who I am without anyone there to tell me.” This was a dark and twisted take on the Nutcracker, and I really enjoyed it. It was so easy to connect with the Nutcracker character, and Droessen was a creepy villain, with clear motivations and plenty of smarts. I just really like how the story explored wanting - and the power of putting yourself first. When Water Sang Fire | ★★★★★ “This is the problem with making a thing forbidden. It does nothing but build an ache in the heart.” This Fjerdan tale was my second favorite story and I just loved it so much! Female friendship, mermaids, and fostering a burning vengeance. I LOVED Ulla as a character, she was so complex and I could easily read an entire novel about her. So this collection started and ended on a high note for me and I had some ups-and-downs in the middle (the Ravkan stories were easily the weakest for me), overall I am really happy. The artwork (which is gloriously stunning) is reason enough to give this books a chance, but these dark subversive fairy tales are sure to ensnare you.
Calling upon traditions much older than she is, author Leigh Bardugo fashions and refashions tales from what she calls the Grishaverse. Each tale is wonderful and each resonates of stories we learned as children: “The Little Mermaid” “Hansel and Gretel”. “The Nutcracker” “Pinocchio “... These stories, as tinged with horror as they are with hope, give us not only “fairy tales” but creation songs and “questions wiser than we know” to misquote “Rimskittle”(a book I grew up with). Historical sharing makes them so. This small book will provoke childhood and reaches widely towards the future, and will keep you thinking long after the last page is reached. 4/5
These fairy tales of the Grisha Verse are absolutely incredible. They are dark and scary, enchanted and beautiful. Even if you have never read Leigh Bardugo before you will understand and thrill to these tales. This book is magical.
It was just my cup of tea!!
As you will be able to tell from my repetitive, flattering adjectives, I enjoyed this collection. While one story was a clear stand-out for me, I had no issues with any of them and can highly recommend these fairytales, even if you aren’t familiar with the Grishaverse. Ayama and the Thorn Wood – Ayama is a bit like Cinderella in that she’s overlooked by her parents and made to sleep by the hearth, clean up and generally keep quiet. She is overshadowed by her beautiful sister, but while the two don’t talk much, they still have a loving relationship. I think that’s an important detail and a nice change of pace from the usual vain, evil step-sisters most Cinderella types come equipped with. Amaya is an unlikely heroine and her solution to the problems in the stories was an unexpected one. The Too-Clever Fox – I love animal fables. As with foxes in most fables, this one is clever, yet his confidence and appreciation for beauty lead him astray. This story was somewhat bittersweet and I liked that. The Witch of Duva – I found this to be an original twist on Hansel and Gretel with a surprising villain. I enjoyed the witch character. The setting was cold and bleak, different from the usual almost-cheerful forest I typically imagine the witch to live in. Little Knife – Impossible challenges required to gain the hand of a beautiful girl meets waterbending. What more needs to be said? Oh, probably that there’s a subtle female/female relationship! The Soldier Prince – This reminded me of The Nutcracker, obviously, but also another tale I’ve read and can’t think of. I like that Bardugo combines elements from different tales into her retellings so that none are straight-forward. The latter half of this story went in a direction I wasn’t expecting and I appreciated that. When Water Sang Fire – Hands down my favorite Little Mermaid interpretation of all time. A compelling heroine turned villain, a story of enemies turned friends turned enemies, mermaids, song magic and more mermaids. So good! I can see why the collection ended on this tail (HAHAH, get it? Guys? Get it?) and it was easily my favorite.
pooled ink Reviews: -A must-read for fans of the Grishaverse or fairytales of any kind- I absolutely loved reading these tales and oh my, the cover (both the dust jacket and what’s beneath) is utterly gorgeous! But not only is the outside beautiful but the inside as well! The gradual progression of the drawings bordering each page of a story is brilliant and the illustrations are all so lovely! Each story is told in a voice I could easily hear standing alongside those of the famous Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen. And similarly these tales are much darker and more grisly than what can be found on the Disney classics shelves. What I really enjoyed I think was how Bardugo took inspiration from the world she’s crafted in her books and inspiration from fairytales handed down in our own world and merged the two, instilling vaguely familiar tales with a much fuller story and deeper message. As beloved as fairytales are one must admit that they are often a bit nonsensical, predictable, and seem to only skim the surface. These tales however are short but well developed and thought out, brimming with a relatable authenticity that one can either identify with or at least grasp its lessons. If you’re a fan of fairytales, folktales, wives tales, or the Grishaverse, then I definitely recommend you grab a copy of this beautiful book! **Read my FULL review on my Wordpress site: Pooled Ink
“I was not made for pleasing princes.” Despite the fact that I’m not the biggest fan of short stories or anthologies, when Leigh Bardugo announced that she was writing one for the Grishaverse, completed with ILLUSTRATIONS, I knew I would be reading this book. Leigh Bardugo is one of my ALL TIME FAVOURITE authors ever since I dove into Shadow and Bone, way back when it wasn’t called that, but it was called The Gathering Dark. I fell in LOVE with the Grisha Trilogy and then when the Six of Crows Duology released, I knew that I would always read this brilliant author’s brilliant books. If you don’t already know, my main reason for not liking short stories are that they seem so incomplete to me and the minute I get invested, the story is over. Poof. And yet, not once in these reimagined fairy tales did I feel like that. I was either mesmerized by Leigh’s magical writing style, in awe of Sara Kipin’s illustrations or just waiting to see what would happen next. Let’s break this down story wise: 1) Amaya and the Thorn Wood: I love books about girls with strong hearts who know only to tell the truth and aren’t fooled by frivolities. Amaya was one of these girls and the story of her, a great bear and tales weaved around sadness, love and those who are supposed to love us and sisterhood wrung my heart. I love how this story was told with a stark, honest voice and it was definitely me favourite in the collection. 2) The Too Clever Fox: Before I began this story, I thought it was about Prince Nikolai Lantsov, the prince whose nickname was the Clever Fox. He comes in the Grisha trilogy, makes an appearance in the Sic of Crown duology and now, HE’S GETTING HIS OWN SERIES. Which is beside the point because this story is all about an actual fox and the wit he uses to survive. There’s a hunter, friendship, love, betrayal and wit that will make you smile. 3) The Witch Of Duva: This story is a reimagined Hansel and Gretel retelling, and it’s reimagined in a way only Leigh Bardugo could. Who is the person at fault? The wicked stepmother, the evil witch or the spineless father? I loved how magic was weaved into this tale, and you’ll get no spoilers from me. Just know that this isn’t your traditional fairy tale. 4) Little Knife: I ADORED this story because for the first time, Grisha power was mentioned and used. This story revolves around tasks set to win the hand of the fairest maiden in the land and the magic that surrounds it all. It’s filled with Tidemaker power and I loved every second of it. 5) The Soldier Prince: This story is a reimagined Nutcracker story with Grisha Fabrikator magic and the spirit of a toy who learns to find his own desires. This is probably one of the more out there stories in this collection, but I loved it anyway. 6) When Water Sang Fire: This was my second favourite story in this collection because it had mermaids, sisterhood, music, magic and most importantly, a character who is one of my favourites from the Grisha trilogy and I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT. Also, IS SHE STILL ALIVE AND WILL WE BE MEETING HER IN THE NEXT PART OF THE GRISHA SERIES? A mystical, magical collection of re-imagined fairy tales written in a way only a true master like Leigh Bardugo could, with illustrations that bring words to life. 4.5 stars.
Spooky, dark, and so Bardugo-y that it hurt (oh so good, of course). My favorite was easily Ayama and The Thorn Wood, but The Witch of Duva was a close second. My least favorite was surprisingly the mermaid one. o.o Who would have thought? The pictures were amazing, and gosh, Bardugo can write. It was just a bit slow in parts, but Bardugo captured the beauty and essence of a fairytale, folktale, and all the lore behind it. These stories are lush, creative, and something I'm not sure Grimm could have ever done if they tried. If you are in love with anything in the Grisha universe or just want some spooky tales to read, do yourself a favor and pick this book up.