Leigh Bardugo

The Language of Thorns is a collection of re-imagined fairy-tales by Leigh Bardugo.

Like Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy and the Six of Crows Duology, The Language of Thorns is set in the ever-fascinating 'Grishaverse', a fantasy world with a bit of russian flair. 
I love believable fantasy, I love faerie-tales, and I especially love some good world-building. So naturally, this book was intriguing to me. I have read five of Bardugo's other works, and had mixed feelings about them, but I never failed to appreciate her writing skills, and her incredible settings. 10/10 for imagination and ingenuity. 

The Language of Thorns however, I really liked. I used the term "re-imagined" rather than "re-told", but perhaps "inspired by" would be more accurate still. Bardugo has a truly unique take on these stories, one that I have not seen before. 
I have always disliked this habit, in modern times, of taking fairy-tales and turning them into pat, moralistic happily-ever-afters. The original tales are far more muddled than that. Often times the ending seems less to be the triumph of good, and more the triumph of something/someone that appears good or beautiful. Unfair punishments are often dealt out, and people of questionable character often run free. 
In an Author's Note at the end of the book, Leigh Bardugo says: 

"For me, the real villain was Hansel and Gretel's father, a man so weak-will, so cowardly, that he let his wicked wife send his children into the woods to die twice."

Reading this was a huge "me too!" moment. I have always thought that their father was a horrible person. 
I have always thought that Cinderella's marriage was doomed; that Snow White was cruel to the huntsman, who loved her, and married the prince for power and revenge; that Belle was cheated of her love, beastly though he was, and in the end outward appearance was the thing that mattered most. 
Think of all those princesses who were forced to wed men they did not know, simply because of the whims of kings.
Leigh Bardugo captures this muddled, disconcerting theme in the book. The good and the bad is still there, but from a different perspective. 
So go out and kill the wicked ogre in his castle, but did you ever wonder how he got to be there, and why he if forced to steal in order to survive?

A Caution 

This book is definitely not for children, and contains a fair amount of disturbing and mature content. I wouldn't say that you necessarily need to like darker stories to like this book, but if you actively dislike dark things, you probably won't care for this either.  
Also maybe don't read The Witch of Duva at one in the morning? 

In Conclusion 

I liked this book. 
I do not necessarily agree with Bardugo's take on every story, and I thought it was rather darker than it needed to be, but I liked it. 
I consider that it would be an intriguing read regardless of how much you care about faerie tales, but recognizing all the stories certainly makes it more interesting. 
I would recommend The Language of Thorns to any who love the darker faerie tales (or if you enjoyed the movie Maleficent, and its spin on Sleeping Beauty). 

  The Author



How to Introvert
~ Boring Reflections ~

I don't know what this post is. It just happened. I don't know that any of what follows matters, or is worth talking about. I don't know if it is well expressed, or pertinent, or interesting. Some introspective word vomit about introspection. Enjoy? 


To begin, I do not believe in introvert vs. extrovert stereotypes. People are complicated. Some introverts are loud, some extroverts are really quiet. It isn't about your outward presentation, it is about the way your brain works. Moreover, I am one person, and I cannot speak for others. The only thing that I necessarily have in common with other introverts, is the need to recharge in solitude. 

I am a human being who craves and adores solitude. Any interaction with another human being is, at some level, draining. That does not mean negative. The fact that I love to be alone does not mean that while I am with someone, I am constantly wishing I wasn't. Parting with friends is always bittersweet. I am sad to end a visit, because that means leaving the company of a person I love dearly, but there is always a little part of me that is happy to be alone in my room once more. 

I have two extremes of 'social behaviour'. One is when I am completely comfortable with the people around me, and I am bubbly and cuddly and goofy and a bit on the louder side. The other is when I am not comfortable with the surrounding people, and then I live up to all the stereotypes. I become anti-social, miserable, and silent. I suffer from what is commonly known as social anxiety. There is no need to go into the details of what sort of people make me comfortable or uncomfortable. 

Somewhere in between that is just a reclusive young woman who won't go to social events alone, but can handle herself pretty decently in a conversation, and finds talking to total strangers rather fun. (Honestly, the people you sort of know can be the most terrifying). 

Is It Bad? 

No. It is not bad to be an introvert, and you don't need to force yourself to be different. However, (and don't get mad at me for saying this) there are negative things that can result from both introversion and extroversion. 
I have met extroverted people, who were very outgoing and social, but they did not know how to be alone with themselves. They were not happy by themselves, and they hated to be alone. Being okay with yourself is incredibly important. Being at peace with yourself is immensely important to mental health and overall happiness, and this comes from self awareness and some amount of introspection. Take some time to hear yourself think. Maybe you hate that, maybe you don't like it because you think about all the wrong things, but it has to happen. Life has to be processed, the bad with the good. 

And now to the side that I have a much deeper understanding of. 
Believe me, there are few who understand the need to be alone as well as I do, but humans are social creatures, and we live in society, and life involves human interaction. So it is not okay to shut yourself off from the entire world. It is not good for the world, and it is not good for you. You have to interact with other people, whether you like it or not. This is something I struggle with. I so wish to lock myself up and only ever see my close friends and family for the rest of my life, and that is something I have been working on. 

One of the greatest things I ever learned was that in order to begin stepping out of my comfort zone, I needed to figure out what my comfort zone really was. What are my boundaries? At what point to I begin to change from healthy human into cornered animal? What do I need to stay sane, happy, and functional? 

So far, I have learned a few things that I need. 
(a). Routine, good food, and exercise. Routines make me so happy; having time to cook proper meals for myself is always a glorious thing; and being generally active, in addition to 40 or so minutes of solid exercise each day, really helps me stay in a good mood.
(b). One day a week where I do not leave my house; where I attend to chores, hobbies, and my environment. As long as this happens, I am in excellent condition all the rest of the time. (I will say, the night before my "home-day", I am always in a rather miserable mood, because I am at the end of my reclusive rope, but other than that all is well). 
(c) Friends to talk to, and books to read. 
(d) And orderly environment. I do not have OCD, but I have my fair share of obsessions and compulsions (always has exit strategies, hates frayed edges, becomes physically uncomfortable and distracted in the presence of random stains or striking asymmetry, etc.). Many of these revolve around cleanliness. My own room is my sanctuary, and being in it always makes me happy; cleaning it is my favourite task. 

How People Interact With Me

I would like to preface this section by saying that I do not take any personal offence at anything anyone has said to me, I merely find it rather annoying and fairly amusing. 

It is worth mentioning that when I am really tired or with people I am very comfortable with, I can be quite talkative. On a semi-regular basis, someone from the outside world catches a glimpse of this and decides that I am very outgoing and cannot possibly be an introvert. More confusing yet, these people often feel some bizarre need to tell me of this magical new fact they have discovered. 

This seems like something that would be a one off instance: "oh, haha, remember that time someone told me they thought I was an extrovert". And yet I cannot even count the number of times other people have decided to tell me what I am, what I like, and how I think. With little to no provocation. 

(paraphrasing, not actual quotes, I don't hate any of these people)

Person: Are you going to this thing tonight? 
Me: Nah
Person: Why not, it will be fun!
Me: Oh I know, but I'm pretty introverted and tonight is just one of those nights where I want to stay home, you know? 
Person: Oh my gosh, you are NOT an introvert. You were so outgoing the other day, like you are SUCH an extrovert. 
Me: *silence* *returns to escape plans from earlier*

*end scene*

First of all, I am very good at faking it to avoid confrontation, or making anyone else uncomfortable because eek.
The two main groups of people who do this are either (a). Extroverts who think of introversion as some sort of sad problem or mental illness, and want to comfort me and encourage me. No ill-intentions whatsoever, very kind and sweet, just uncalled for. 
(b). Introverts who are extremely covetous of their anti-social nature, and don't want people claiming their label who are able to be talkative in a social situation. 

Another thing I encounter constantly is people feeling sorry for me. The number of times people have asked me, out of the blue, if I was okay......ahhhh. To be fair, part of it is my RBF, so I guess I often look rather miserable. But part of it is the way I behave in groups. There have been many social things where I have actually been miserable and extremely uncomfortable, but I am often perfectly happy, albeit reclusive and quiet. 
99% of the time I sit in a corner at a party, I am having a grand old time watching all the people and listening to the conversations around me. I love people-watching. Humans are fascinating. 

Unlike the inexplicable desire to tell me who I am, people's genuine concern and desire to make me feel comfortable are not annoying. They are sweet, and even required on the part of a hostess. They do not bother me in the least, though I do find them a tad funny. 

In Conclusion 

Whatever label best fits your unique personality, get to know yourself without worrying about where you fit in. Figure out what boundaries you need to set in life to be able to interact with the world in a positive way, and stick by them. I often feel stupid for telling people I can't do something on a thursday, because I want to be alone. I feel selfish. And in a way, it is a little bit selfish, any time you do anything for yourself, but ultimately I believe that I will be of more use to people with my life force in my body, instead of in a puddle on the floor. 
Once you figure out exactly what you need for yourself, you will be able to give everything else away freely. Knowing I have my thursday enables me to never begrudge any of my other time. Sure, sometimes weeks get overwhelming, and I have to just focus on the light at the end of the tunnel, but that is exactly why I turned that light on in the first place. 

 The Author


Image is my own. 


Megan Whalen Turner

The King of Attolia is the third book in the Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner. 

Oops. It has been what...nine months since I posted the review of The ThiefIn the time it took me to remember to scribble two reviews, many thousands of women produced miniature humans. I'm slacking, clearly. 

The blurby-thing is once again purloined from the back of the book because reasons. 

Short Review: I liked this one more than The Queen of Attolia. It was better the second time round, but doesn't take very long to read, so I would say go ahead, give it a chance, even if it seems boring at first.

By scheming and theft, the Thief of Eddis has become King of Attolia. Eugenides wanted the queen, not the crown, but he finds himself trapped in a web of his own making. 
Then he drags a naive young guard into the center of the political maelstrom. Poor Costis knows he is the victim of the king's caprice, but his contempt for Eugenides slowly turns to grudging respect. Though struggling against his fate, the newly crowned king is much more than he appears. Soon the corrupt Attolian court will learn that its subtle and dangerous intrigue is no match for Eugenides. 


When I first read this book, I remember being slightly bored for the first several chapters. It takes place in the comparatively small palace of Attolia, and starts out with a pretty slow pace, but it picks up, I promise. The first thought that comes to mind is "Eugenides is a crazy genius", and that holds true to the end. We know from the previous two installments in the series that Gen is clever and manipulative, but The King of Attolia, true to its title, shows him in all his majestic, crafty glory. It is quite satisfying to watch Eugenides work, if slightly frustrating. 


Okay. Um. I am going to be honest, and admit that it has been sort of a while since I have read this? But I have read it four times, so that has to count for something. Can we all take a moment to remember that I suck at reviewing things? Okay...thanks, I feel better now. 
The plot is very very interesting. BUT, I will say that I only really liked it on the second read, because the stuff that was going on was far more interesting when I knew what Eugenides ultimate goal was. I'm not saying that everything should have been explained right away, some mystery is always good. But even knowing that there WAS some particular goal he was aiming at, would have helped. The problem was that, as I mentioned earlier, the first several chapters were really boring, because everyone was just being annoying, and Eugenides wasn't being interesting and seemed out of character. I get that the readers were supposed to be surprised too, and that it was meant to be full of little plot twists, but there was so much information withheld that I wasn't even invested in the book to begin with. Imagine reading a murder mystery from the POV of the detective, without knowing that he was a detective, or that there had even been a crime. He is asking all sorts of questions and everything is mysterious and weird, but to the point where you don't really care what happens. 

That said, once it started to pick up and move at a slightly faster pace, it was really interesting and intriguing, and I liked it very much indeed. On a second read, knowing what was up, I was invested from the first word to the last, and thoroughly enjoyed it. 


Costis: A new chap, of boring? I'm not really reflecting the "I like this one more than the Queen of Attolia" part of my intro am I? I did, I swear, I just also only read these book for Eugenides, so the other characters don't matter to me. But yeah, Costis was kind of lame. I mean, he was cute and all, but also kind of a judgemental, prejudiced, brat with no personality? *she said, in a judgmental, prejudiced, bratty sort of way*

Eugenides: Wonderfully horrid and adorable, as always. He is such a lovely mix of vulnerable little boy, and one-handed-masterspy-bad-ass. His character develops in a pretty straight line, from point A to point B, without too much drama. There does seem to be a theme in this book of everything tumbling out at the very end, and that holds true for Gen's character-arc. He is exactly the same for pretty much the entire book, and then suddenly at the end he goes through a thing and pops out in end-of-book form, all of a sudden. 

Attolia: Starts out by seeming like an entirely different person from the last book, and then ultimately ends up a person that doesn't seem to flow from either version. I never liked her anyway.

In Conclusion

I did a REALLY shoddy job convincing anyone that I liked this more than The Queen of Attolia. It is just that I can't find a way to talk about all the things I liked, without listing off a bunch of spoilers. You will just have to take my word for it. And really, if you read The Thief and The Queen of Attolia and liked them, is there any chance you won't read this one as well? As a standalone does not do so well. As an addition to a series, with a large dose of a beloved is excellent. 
And if you read it once and did not like it much, I encourage you to give it another chance, as rereading it made the world of difference to me. 

 The Author

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