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.
First of all, this book is stunning. Everything about it is absolutely gorgeous. From the cover to the illustrations to the writing. I don’t think I have ever met a more thoughtfully beautiful book. If I was to marry a book, this would be the one. Hands down.
It was really addictive. Each story has new twists and turns and is pulled from a plethora of different myths and folktales. I loved them all. You can tell that Bardugo has really thought about which stories and myths would fit best with the world she has created and would bring it more to life. So, so much thought and planning has gone into this and it is so obvious. It has allowed us as readers to fully sink ourselves into the world of magic and wonder and to pretend that we exist there. Honestly I think I prefer that world to this one. Maybe it’s just because I would love to be a Grisha and live in Ketterdam. It reminds me so much of Amsterdam (and I know it’s meant to, but sssh) and I love Amsterdam.
The second to last story, the one about the nutcracker. I loved it so much. I didn’t think I did but then I kept thinking about it. I just love how the girl’s brother is gay (or at the very least bi) and no one seems to care. I think that that just shows how you can create a fantasy world and not give it the same problems we have. When it said that both he and his sister had practiced kissing on the nutcracker (at least I think it did, I really hope I didn’t just hallucinate that…) it actually made me so happy. Because why should girls get all the fun and be the only ones able to practice kissing? Boys need the practice too. Also the revelation of that story with the nutcracker going off and living his own life and the girl becoming a author, even though her parents wanted her to marry rich gave me life. It was so nice seeing her (and her brother) going off and doing what she wanted. It was really inspiring and hopeful actually, so I really appreciate that added detail and the ending that was really uplifting and such a change from other fairy tales.
Now that I really think about it, I think all the stories stood out to me. But my favourite hands down was the mermaid one. The very last one. It was absolutely stunning. An absolute masterpiece. I am so very in love with this story. In my opinion it is the most important story in there. It signifies so much. Overcoming those who don’t believe in you and your own self-doubt and proving them wrong. Showing others that you’re more than just your outward appearance. Doing what you can to protect those you love. Coming back from a betrayal stronger than ever. Basically it’s a story of self-love and of finding your family, even if it means looking in unexpected places. I just love it so much, and if you can please read it. Please read all of them, but I think that this and the Witch of Duva (I think that’s what it’s called?) are by far the most important to read.
This book obviously got 5/5 stars and a permanent place on my favourites list. All of the Grishaverse books are on there, but somehow I think this is above them. Even Six of Crows which is by far one of the best books ever written. You don’t have to read the original trilogy or the duology that came after for this book to make sense. It is completely separate and I think is made better for being so. The last thing I am going to say is that I wish I could read it again for the first time so I could experience it’s beauty all over again. Please, please read it. You won’t regret it.