Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Book Review: The Language of Thorns (Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic) by Leigh Bardugo

Fairy tales with a touch of darkness, definitely the most wonderful thing I ever encountered 

I've always wanted to read something written by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows is still in my top TBR list), and since the others are a series of books, I decided to try her stand-alone book first, The Language of Thorns. And oh, I am absolutely, indefinitely in love with it! 4.95/5 (★)

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Synopsis from Goodreads: 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, #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, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to 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, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.
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I don't normally read short stories, I've read only a handful of them (and mostly they're fan fictions). That's because in short stories, most of the time, we don't really get to know very deeply about a character, which I am not quite fond of because I like to get to know in-depth about a character and emphatise with them. But in this case, The Language of Thorns proved me wrong. There can be so much more in short stories, to the point that when I placed this book down, tears were falling down my cheeks (excuse me, but I am an emotional person).

There's a total of six short stories in the book, and what can I say? All of them are magical in their own way. I'm a sucker for any kind of fairy tales, and it delights me that Leigh Bardugo brought a touch of darkness into them. Her stories portray that not all beauty are filled with kindness and compassion, and a beast may actually be more humane than a real human. They may be a collection of stories inspired by fairy tales, myths and folklore, yet at the same time, they are much more than just that.

The first story (Ayama and the Thorn Wood) and the last story (When Water Sang Fire) particularly left a large impact to me. Ayama had no beautiful look, but her heart was beautiful. And the beast prince only needed a sincere heart to accept him. In When Water Sang Fire, it teaches a lot about friendship, but in the end, bad love can destroy everything. This is the very story that brought tears to me. Ulla was a beautiful in her own way, yet the others notice nothing but her unnaturally strong melody. She was betrayed just because of that, and it pained me a lot.

Can we just admire the artwork bordering the pages, by Sara Kipin? At the start of each story, a small artwork appears, and it grew and grew until it filled around the pages, and by the end, it became a full two-pages of beautiful artwork. I was, and still am enthralled by the artworks, it made the experience of reading a lot more fun! You'd find yourself trying to figure what new thing will appear in the next page.

As for the usage of language, I have absolutely no complaints. Each and every word were written very beautifully, and instead of just reading through the words, I felt like it was being read aloud to me. The words seem to speak on their own, and I have this image of me sitting comfortably on a bed, and someone was reading the stories to me like bedtime stories. I never had that experience, but through this book, I felt like it was a real experience to me. 

Overall, The Language of Thorns is just a perfection. I have no other words to describe it other than being utterly magnificent. I learned a lot through it, and the biggest thing would be: be careful of who you trust and love.

"You see, some people are born with a piece of night inside, and that hollow place can never be filled—not with all the good food or sunshine in the world. That emptiness cannot be banished, and so some days we wake with the feeling of the wind blowing through, and we must simply endure it as the boy did."

Till next time ♡ Love, Maira

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