Title: Ayama and the Thorn Wood
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Language of Thorns (Leigh Bardugo)
In: Grishaverse Companion
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fairy tales, Fantasy, Illustrated
Format: Short story
5th sentence, 74th page: And what a brave girl to attempt such a task.
Ayama’s sister is beautiful, and she is often forgotten. Until the day that the King needs a messenger to go and negotiate with his beast of a son… then her entire world is changed.
Most stories, fairy tales, really anything that I read features a pretty girl. She is gifted by grace, beauty, kindness, yadda, yadda, yadda. But not so with this reimagined fairy tale story. This is all about the ugly (and somewhat forgotten) ugly sister.
Ayama isn’t beautiful, her voice sounds horrible, and even her parents are kind of freaked out by her. She’s a lot more like everyone else in the world, and it’s kind of nice to read about someone who isn’t beautiful. But she does have all of the characteristics that I have become used to in a lead girl in a fairy tale. Ayama is kind, and humble. She has a strong moral and ethical compass. And she isn’t afraid to love. Everything that a young girl should actually aspire to be.
Although there is a major point throughout the story of the difference in perceptions and acceptance of siblings, this isn’t actually seen to cause a rift between the two siblings. The sisters still love each other and treat each other with respect, even when the parents are a little lacking in this. Normally I would expect a level of bitterness throughout, and it was incredibly refreshing to not come across this.