The language of thorns : midnight tales and dangerous magic / Leigh Bardugo ; illustrated by Sara Kipin.
Booklist Reviews 2017 September #2
*Starred Review* With this lushly designed and wonderfully rendered offering, Bardugo (Six of Crows, 2015) returns to her Grishaverse with a collection of six stories. In an ending note, Bardugo mentions that her intention was to craft stories her characters might have heard as children, and indeed, no knowledge of her previous works is necessary for enjoying this. The stories are framed as coming from four of her Grishaverse nations—three from Ravka and one each from Kerch, Fjerda, and Novyi Zem—and flavors and morals change from culture to fictional culture. At their heart, these are tales built from the eeriest elements of fairy tales we know. Though readers may recognize certain components—a girl with a wolfskin cape, a house that smells like gingerbread, a mermaid with a silver voice—the stories here are entirely, luminously new. Bardugo doesn't twist familiar tales so much as rip them open, and the magic of the collection is enhanced by Kipin's otherworldly artwork: borders that grow ominously longer and more detailed with each page, and culminate in a final double-page spread for each story. Bardugo may be best known for her exemplary world building, but here more than anything, it is her language, lovely and unsettling, that is on display, as well as the accompanying characters who, like the stories themselves, are never what they seem. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Bardugo's already got two acclaimed, best-selling Grishaverse series under her belt, and this release in the same world isn't likely to slow the momentum. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2018 Spring
Six fairy tales set in the Imperial Russiaflavored fantasy world of Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy ([cf2]Shadow and Bone[cf1] and sequels) have the feel of centuries-old tales, but the ending of each offers a twist that recasts the story with a more modern sensibility. The stories are decorated in the margins with a cumulative illustration (one visual element added per page) plus a full-spread illustration at each tale's conclusion. Copyright 2018 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2018 #1
A neglected girl who tells stories to appease the wolf-prince that's been killing livestock and destroying crops. A trickster fox who is himself tricked. A baker's apprentice who prepares a gingerbread girl to fight back against her wicked stepmother. Six fairy tales set in the Imperial Russia–flavored fantasy world of Bardugo's ?Grisha Trilogy (Shadow and Bone, rev. 7/12; and sequels) have the feel of centuries-old tales with their classical language and archetypal characters, but the ending of each offers a twist that recasts the story and awakens reader engagement. In "The Soldier Prince," drawn from The Nutcracker and The Velveteen Rabbit, unsavory clockmaker Droessen gives Clara a nutcracker toy soldier in hopes of beguiling her into marriage, but her affection turns to the toy itself. While Bardugo admits the possibility that the toy nutcracker might beguile Clara's brother, Frederik, as well, in the end there are greater things than love that can (or should) make a toy real. Each story is decorated in the margins with a cumulative illustration whose style evokes Watty Piper's and Eulalie Banks's fairy-tale illustrations of the 1920s and 1930s. One visual element is added or changed per page until the margins are completely filled, and a full-spread illustration appears at each tale's conclusion. The heavy paper stock and thick binding, too, evoke classic bookmaking. By maintaining the style and diction of childhood classics while questioning their outcomes, Bardugo creates brand-new tales of wonder with a sensibility pitched for today. anita l. burkam Copyright 2017 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.