Mini-Review | The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

The Language of Thorns cover
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.

5 cupcakes

This collection of incredibly inventive, dark, and atmospheric short stories was completely enthralling, to the point where I didn’t even mind that I had already read a few of the included tales. Where the stories draw inspiration from classic fairy tales, such as The Little Mermaid and Hansel and Gretel, it’s just that: inspiration. This collection frequently subverts the source material in unexpected ways, creating a world where true love isn’t the solution to all problems. It’s one of the rare anthologies where I loved every single story and can’t wait to give it another read.

Waiting on Wednesday (March 12)

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that are eagerly anticipated.

This week, I’m waiting on Winterspell by Claire Legrand, which has an expected publication date of September 30, 2014.

The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.

New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor’s ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother’s murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted–by beings distinctly not human. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they’re to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets–and a need she can’t define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won’t leave Cane unscathed–if she leaves at all.

Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.

I’ll admit that the extent of my knowledge of The Nutcracker comes from watching an elementary school play that my younger cousin performed in, so the whole concept behind Winterspell intrigues me. I love dark fairy tale retellings, especially when they have faeries and steampunk elements, so this is definitely a must-read for me.

What books are you waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me a list in the comments below.

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Book Review: Raven Girl by Audrey Niffenegger

ImageOnce there was a Postman who fell in love with a Raven.

 

So begins the tale of a postman who encounters a fledgling raven while on the edge of his route and decides to bring her home. The unlikely couple falls in love and conceives a child — an extraordinary raven girl trapped in a human body. The raven girl feels imprisoned by her arms and legs and covets wings and the ability to fly. Betwixt and between, she reluctantly grows into a young woman, until one day she meets an unorthodox doctor who is willing to change her.

One of the world’s most beloved storytellers has crafted a dark fairy tale full of wonderment and longing. Complete with Audrey Niffenegger’s bewitching etchings and paintings, Raven Girl explores the bounds of transformation and possibility.
My Rating:  4 cupcakes
Until now, I had never read an Audrey Niffenegger book. Shameful, I know. While I had heard all of the praise surrounding The Time Traveler’s Wife, I had never gotten around to reading a copy, despite shelving it every day when I worked as a student library page. Naturally, as soon as I had time to read it, I arrived at the library only to find that it was unavailable. Sitting in the place where The Time Traveler’s Wife should have been was a thin book called Raven Girl.
The first thing that I noticed about the book was the cover. I know that they say never to judge a book by its cover, but in this case, my first thought – that the simple, self-explanatory picture and choice of font were reminiscent of a fairytale – was indeed correct. In Raven Girl, Niffenegger combines the modern magic of medicine and technology with the more traditional elements of princes, transformation and unlikely lovers to create an wonderfully unique Gothic fairytale. It’s quick read is supplemented by Niffenegger’s own illustrations which enhance the story and bewitch the reader.
There were only a few things that I disliked about this story: the ending was quite abrupt, some details were glossed over, and the book was quite short (80 pages total, and not even all of the pages contained words). However these can be chalked up to the fact that the story is a fairytale, where such practices are commonplace.
This story took me on a dark adventure that I really enjoyed. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re willing to embrace your inner child and suspend your disbelief for about half an hour, I recommend you give Raven Girl a try.