It’s that time of year again! Time to set a new reading goal for the year. The last several years I have set a goal of 75 books. I nearly doubled it with 145 books in 2018. Do you have reading goals? How do you track them? I love Goodreads because I can create shelves, lists and make notes on what I read. The Language of Thorns is my first completed book of the year and it definitely started the year off well!
The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
First line: In the year that summer stayed too long, the heat lay upon the prairie with the weight of a corpse.
Summary: A collection of five fairy tales and legends told by the best-selling author, Leigh Bardugo, brings the reader into a mystical world filled with enchanted nutcrackers, mermaids and witches.
Highlights: I absolutely loved these short stories. Bardugo is a master of world building and atmosphere. I have read several of her novels and enjoyed each one. She can do so much in just a few pages.
By far my favorite of the stories was the story of Clara and the nutcracker. It seems like we know this story but Bardugo puts her own twist on it making it darker and more intriguing.
The pages are stunning with their artwork at the borders. Each page adds more imagery that enhances the story. Plus, if you have read her books (Grisha Trilogy and Dregs Duology) you will find little Easter eggs embedded in the tales. I highly recommend this collection to anyone who loves fantasy and Russian style fairy tales.
FYI: If you enjoyed this then try the Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden. I read the third book in December and was once again blown away by Arden’s story telling abilities.
The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden
First line: A girl rode a bay horse through a forest late at night.
Summary: Vasya has been cast out of her village as a witch. She does not want to spend her life behind a convent walls or trapped in a marriage. She wants freedom and adventure. With the help of the frost demon, Morozko, and her loyal horse, Solovey, she sets out on her own dressed as a boy. When she wanders into a burned village and discovers that bandits are raiding the countryside and stealing young girls she sets out to save the missing children. After her rescue mission, she gains the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow. With the help of her elder siblings, she keeps her gender hidden from the elite of Moscow. However, with the mysterious arrival of an unknown lord, Vasya starts to worry that the danger has worked its way into the courts of Grand Prince.
Highlights: Atmospheric. I can feel the cold of a Russian winter while reading the adventures of Vasya. Vasya is a wonderful heroine. She is not beautiful. She wants more out of life than the traditional trappings of her gender. I love the frost demon, Morozko. He is complicated and intriguing. I am glad that we got to see more of his relationship with Vasya. The writing is poetic and beautiful. I love that the author provides a glossary at the end to help the reader understand the terminology and characters. This one was filled with action and danger. I loved the first book and the second did not disappoint.
FYI: The second book in The Winternight Trilogy.