The Language of Thorns Book Review 

Emily Merlin , Social Media Director

            Most adult and young adult books these days are extremely boring. I am not speaking on the actual writing, but the art. The only part you’ll see of a book, at a glance, is the cover. If you’re lucky, a map on the first page.‘The Language of Thorns’ by Leigh Bardugo does it differently.  

Although this book is compiled of vignettes, that doesn’t stop the author from adding art. The wonderful illustrations by Sara Kipin are what bring the stories to life. 

            In this fantasy book, there is a multitude of mythical creatures from folklore. There are talking foxes, toys that come to life, mermaids, and so much more. It’s impossible to talk about one story, for there isn’t one better than the rest. Each story has a conflict and a resolution, as every story should.  

But sometimes, the conflict doesn’t have a right answer. The resolutions to some of the stories are in the grey area. An example of the darkness of the story is, ‘[…] for if you are lost to your own thoughts, you may find yourself stepping off the path and into the dark woods. And if you continue, ignoring the shouts of your companions, your feet may carry you to the silent streets and abandoned houses of Velisyana, the cursed city’ (117).  

This story is not meant to be lighthearted or funny. It’s a book that wants the reader to travel to new places. The art for each section helps the reader gauge what the story looks like. It gives the story more depth. 

            At the start of each vignette, there is a little design that will usually start at the corner of the page. As you read through the pages, the art grows. The art expands around the text of the page. Once you reach the end of the vignette, there will be an entire page filled with the illustration that was created during the story.  

These illustrations coincide with the theme or items mentioned in the short story. Although the photos only use two main colors, red and blue, they make me feel something. Something inside of me opens up at these mysterious photos.  

            I’ve read a lot of books in my short life, some with pictures, many without. But there is something about this book that is different. The fantasy and magic in the book are delicate and thorough. With the borderline magical art and mystical writing, the book will take you to places never before seen.