BOOK REVIEW: THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS BY LEIGH BARDUGO

An absolute treasure trove of wonderfully wicked and unflinchingly honest stories. These stories are not in the business of wish fulfillment—not to say that some of them don’t have “happy endings,” but rather that those endings always come at a cost. If these tales are dark, it is only because they refuse to pretend that the dark doesn’t exist. And let me tell you, Bardugo’s writing is just exquisite.

from the ones I liked most to the ones I liked least: (though really all of these were top notch—there wasn’t a single story I even slightly disliked)

“Ayama and the Thorn Wood” – 4.5/5 stars (by far my favourite)

“You see, some people are born with a piece of night inside, and that hollow place can never be filled—not with all the good food or sunshine in the world. That emptiness cannot be banished, and so some days we wake with the feeling of the wind blowing through, and we must simply endure it as the boy did.”

“The Witch of Duva” – 4.5/5 stars

“So shut the window tight and make sure the latch is fastened. Dark things have a way of slipping in through narrow spaces.”

“The Solider Prince” – 4.25/5 stars

“Wanting is why people get up in the morning. It gives them something to dream of at night. The more I wanted, the more I became like them, the more real I became.”

“When Water Sang Fire” – 4/5 stars

“Song was all she had and so she clung to it, honed and perfected it, as though if she could only sharpen her skill to a fine enough point, she might carve a true place for herself in the world.”

“Little Knife” – 3.5/5 stars

“Remember that to use a thing is not to own it. And should you ever take a bride, listen closely to her questions. In them you may hear her true name like the thunder of a lost river, like the sighing of the sea.”

“The Too Clever Fox” – 3.5/5 stars

“The trap is loneliness, and none of us escapes it. Not even me.”

BOOK REVIEW: HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES BY CARMEN MARIA MACHADO

The stories of Her Body and Other Parties were, for me, a mixed bag. Whilst reading them, I vacillated wildly between being fascinated and being incredibly confused. The stories which elicited the former were “The Husband Stitch,” “Real Women Have Bodies,” and “Eight Bites.” I thought these three were by far the strongest of the collection, both in terms of their thought-provoking commentary and their eerie execution. (Also, 5 stars for that title alone. Hadn’t realized title-writing was a craft until I read the glorious title that is Her Body and Other Parties. It’s a spot-on encapsulation of the collection, too.) As for the rest of the stories—particularly “Especially Heinous” and “Mothers”—I was lost; they just completely went over my head.

I would’ve liked to enjoy this collection more, as I had high hopes for it, but having finished it, I find that it hasn’t really left much of an impression on me. Eh. Not the most exciting review, I know, but it wasn’t the most exciting reading experience either.

three


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BOOK REVIEW: THE CHILD FINDER BY RENE DENFELD

idk this felt like it was trying so hard to be deep and poignant but really it just ended up being sappy and a little cringey

my biggest issue with this is that every single moment in the book felt like the author wanted it to be A Moment. characters who’d known each other for all of 5 minutes were already like woah I see all the emotional walls you’ve put up behind your smile !! you gotta let the past go !! you can’t keep holding on to those vulnerabilities forever !! and the whole time I was like ????? first of all, no one would ever say that to anyone they’d known for that short a time, and second of all, no one talks like that. pretty much all the scenes ended up feeling ridiculously forced because they were written with the subtlety of a brick to the face. also, the main character Naomi is supposed to be 30 but felt like she was 10 (and spoke like she was 10). and her overall characterization was so poor. all I know about her is that she trusts 3 people, and I only know that bc the author explicitly told us about it like 32830123 times 🙂 🙂 🙂

the writing style was redundant, the plot was boring with a bunch of unnecessary side-plots (not to mention convenient as hell), the shifting POVs annoyed me—frankly this book is just one big blob in my head right now. nothing about it left any kind of lasting impression one me. it was just BLEH. that’s about as close as I can get to representing my experience reading The Child Finder for you…

1.5-


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