The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic (Grisha Verse, #0.5, #2.5, #2.6)The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 5/5 cats
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this is gonna be just pure reader response here, with no attempt made towards any objective assessment or critical analysis. when it comes to bardugo’s fairy tales, i’m just a box full of puppies and all i can do is grin.

i’d read three of these stories before this collection was published, as free tor shorts. i reviewed ‘em here, if you really do need to have your critical analysis beast fed, or if you just want the links to where you can read the stories for free:

The Too-Clever Fox
The Witch of Duva
Little Knife

even though i’ve read dozens more since then, those three stories are still top-ranked in my “free tor short hall of fame.” they are the perfect kind of fairytale – not cheesy or gentle, not dark and edgy just to shock or subvert, but … honest. they are as close to feeling “real” as a fairytale can get, in their beating hearts and blood beneath the magic. coming across them, i felt like i’d discovered something exquisite – it felt like a gift, like pure magic and wonder handcrafted for me. and when i heard this was going to be published and realized i’d already read half of the book, it is a testament to just how good those stories are that i didn’t feel a scrap of disappointment. i only felt, “oh, good – now they can truly be mine, away from my computer.”

and now they are. the three stories i hadn’t read were every bit as good as the ones i had, and the artwork – it’s phenomenal. as each story progresses, it grows its own illustrated borders page by page simultaneously across the verso/recto, until the images connect triumphantly, or devastatingly, followed by a single, full-page illustration serving as an explosive “THE END.” the illustrations are quite cheeky in their details, too, which makes them perfect companions to these little story bombs.

she’s so good at these that as much as i enjoy her longer books, if she decided to devote herself entirely to fleshing out her imaginary lands through folklore like this, i would applaud her choices without reservation.

maybe i will write more at a later date, but for now, just this happy cheer.

also, i’m really glad i have a signed copy, otherwise this page would feel like it was missing something

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five perfect perfect perfect stars. review to come, but for now – much swooning delight.

read my reviews on goodreads

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