Imagine my happiness when I found out that 3 of the short stories would be bundled along with 3 new stories in this book. I love the Grishaverse, and so I had to have this book. Plus I heard about gorgeous illustrations.
And gorgeous,beautiful, stunning, WOW they were. Every passing page something changes in the illustrations bordering the pages. A small thing, a big thing, it was absolutely wonderful to see. At times I just flipped back to the beginning to see how many changes the borders had gone through.
At the end everything comes together, the borders have connected, and we see one gorgeous illustration amidst those beautiful borders.
For each story I have written a small review and given it a star-rating. My favourite story would be the first one. <3
Story 1: Ayama and the Thorn Wood: 5+ stars. I just adored this story to bits. I was shipping Ayame and the Beast because I thought they fitted so well together. I loved the stories and the renewed endings to them that Ayame told the beast.
The ending was perfection and I was very happy with how it all came together.
Bonus points to the gorgeous art that changes and grows with each passing page becoming more beautiful.
Story 2: The Too Clever Fox: 5 stars. Already read this one a few years ago, but it was still oh so much fun to re-read it. To discover the world in which our fox lives. The twist? I can say it took me a bit to figure it out again (probably also doesn’t help I am tired and it was late). I loved our little fox, how smart he was, and how he always managed to find a way out, no matter how. 🙂
Story 3: The Witch of Duva: 5 stars. Another re-read, though thanks to 4 years, I forgot most of the details. Including the ending. Boy, I sure am glad I forgot that one, though of course it is back in my head now. Yuck.
I loved Nadya, even though she was afraid she still made best of her situation, growing fond of the old woman, helping and learning.
I didn’t like Karina, but near the end I did like her more. Mostly because we finally see her true colours.
Story 4: Little Knife: 5 stars! This was a stunning, gorgeous story, especially the ending.
I didn’t quite like Semyon, how he treated his powers, how he treated the river/the water. I was already waiting for the river/water to rebel, to rise above these petty quests.
Poor Yeva. Her beauty unrivalled, men falling over her. Shut in her house. Poor thing. 🙁
The end illustrations just had me sniffling in joy.
Story 5: The Soldier Prince: 2.5 star. A gorgeously told story, but it was so weird and slightly confusing that in the end I have an headache. It had quite a few good parts (for instance I quite liked Clara and the prince together in their dream world). The ending was just as weird, and I was a bit disturbed at it.
Plus really, I found it creepy that a full-grown man takes an interest in a 12-year old girl. 😐 I know he was going to wait until she was old enough, but still he gave her gifts, still he had an interest in her. Still he tried to make her love him.
Story 6: When Water Sang Fire: 2.5 stars. A gorgeous story, but it felt never-ending. It just went on and on, and I just wanted it to end. I liked Ulla, well nearing the end… I liked her a bit less. Why didn’t she say no? Why didn’t she stop? I know the sung was bursting out of her, but come on. Her backstory? I didn’t expect it to be that. Given how the mom acted I expected something way worse.
Signy was so-so. With the ending I can say I dislike her. How dumb are you to do that? When you know the implications of it?
It was also a heartbreaking story, especially the ending and what happened there. That just tore my heart, poor thing. 🙁 Plus suddenly I understood what Ulla was, who she was meant to represent.
All in all, this was a beautiful, stunning book that will bring you to tears, that will pull you in and won’t let you go until the last story has been told. Highly recommended!