Today, I’ll be reviewing two collections of short stories: Language of Thorns and The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night.
Title: Language of Thorns
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Young Adult: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Short Stories
Publication Date: 26th September 2017
My Rating: 3.8/5 stars
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.
I have been looking forward to reading this for a while, especially since it’s basically fairy tales that the Grisaverse heard as they grew up, and I’m glad to say it did not disappoint. Who can deny fairy tales, anyways?
I loved “The Too Clever Fox” the most, I think, mainly because foxes are my absolute FAVOURTE animals and they are just adorable! I love Koja, our little fox protagonist, and despite his appearances, he was the cleverest and kindest soul in the forest and I just love him so much. I didn’t see the twist at the end and my heart broke a little a what happened.
“Ayama and the Thorn Wood” is probably my next favourite story, because I love Greek mythology, and this story reminds me so much of Greek mythology mixed with a bit of Beauty and the Beast. I love Ayama’s kindness and courage, and her beautiful sister’s love for her was so sweet and genuine. I also adored the beast, and felt saddened at him being locked away by his cruel father. I liked how the ending was much like a fairy tale, except more twisted and dark. This honestly could have been my most favourite story, but my love for foxes is far too great haha.
I loved the other stories, but they didn’t really stick with me. I liked how some of the stories reflected other fairy tales, such as “The Soldier Prince” reminding me of The Nutcracker and “When Water Sang Fire” reminded me of a darker version of The Little Mermaid. And I also though that “Little Knife” had potential to be a separate novel, because the concept of the short story is intriguing. The story that I disliked the most was “The Witch of Duva”, mostly because I had no idea what was happening and the ending didn’t really help with my confusion.
The illustrations that accompanied each short story was gorgous and the pages sometimes had beautiful decorations or images and just made it more appealing to look at. I admit that I may have stared at some of the illustrations for a while hehe. Leigh Bardugo’s writing is beautiful and magical and did not disappoint with this collection of short story.
Title: The Beginning Of The World In The Middle Of The Night
Author: Jen Campbel
Genre: Short Stories: Fantasy, Magical Realism
Publication Date: November 2nd 2017
My Rating: 3/5 stars
‘These days, you can find anything you need at the click of a button.
That’s why I bought her heart online.’
Spirits in jam jars, mini-apocalypses, animal hearts and side shows.
A girl runs a coffin hotel on a remote island.
A boy is worried his sister has two souls.
A couple are rewriting the history of the world.
And mermaids are on display at the local aquarium.
The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night is a collection of twelve haunting stories; modern fairy tales brimming with magic, outsiders and lost souls.
My mini review:
Thank you to Hachette Australia for sending this my way! All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This cover is absolutely stunning! I can’t help but stare at it all day long because it’s pretty and relevant to the short stories. I love how there are flowers in the heart, which corresponds to one of the short stories. Don’t you just love it when the cover and the story go together?
I enjoyed some of the stories, but many of them made me lose interest and not want to read it. In all honesty, I can’t even remember my favourite stories because they didn’t stick with me for too long. I do remember enjoying the story Animals, which was dark and gruesome and a bit disturbing too.
I actually liked Jen Campbell’s writing, it was lovely and descriptive. Her ideas and concepts for each story was also promising and intriguing, but I just felt that it let me down. In my opinion, some of the ideas could actually be used as novel plots, as they have potential to be further developed, I know I’d read them. Or maybe I’m not use to short stories, since I haven’t read too many in my life aha.
I also liked how some of the stories had different structures. One was a letter to a weather reporter and another was a mini transcript of a conversation between two people.
In summary, for those looking for a quick, easy read, I’d recommend picking this one up because the stories are very short, some being only 10 pages, so you’d probably get through them quickly. Also, these stories are dark and twisted, so people who love dark fantasies might enjoy this one!
Have you read any of these? Did you enjoy them?