The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo (review)
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Reviewed by
Kate Quealy-Gainer, Assistant Editor
Bardugo, Leigh The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic; illus. by Sara Kipin. Imprint, 2017 [288p]
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-250-12252-0 $18.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-250-12253-7 $9.99
Reviewed from galleys R* Gr. 7-12

In these six short stories, Bardugo gives readers a look at the folk and fairy tales that populate the setting of her Grisha trilogy (Shadow and Bone, BCCB 7/12) and the Six of Crows duology (Six of Crows, BCCB 11/15 and Crooked Kingdom, BCCB 10/16). In one story, a girl selected as a sacrifice chooses to be a beast; in another, a clever fox is outmaneuvered with near-fatal results; elsewhere, a town is abandoned when the duke’s daughter falls for a river spirit. In Bardugo’s hands these folkloric stories become elegantly crafted contemplations on loneliness, focusing not on the despair but on the power of solitude. Kipin’s stylishly intricate illustrations frame each story, beginning with one small element of the tale, building to a border that incorporates parts of the plot, and coming to a crescendo with a full spread to end the story with a powerful visual. Knowledge of the Grishaverse certainly enriches this collection, but all fans of the darker side of folktales and folktale-like stories will find the stories satisfyingly full of pain, danger, and vengeance. [End Page 108]

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