Jan 8, 2021

Review--The Lives of Saints by Leigh Bardugo & Ill. by Daniel J. Zollinger


Enter the world of the Grishaverse and Shadow and Bone, soon to be a Netflix original series!

Dive into the epic world of international bestselling author Leigh Bardugo with this beautifully illustrated replica of The Lives of Saints, the Istorii Sankt’ya, featuring tales of saints drawn from the beloved novels and beyond. Out of the pages of the Shadow and Bone trilogy, from the hands of Alina Starkov to yours, the Istorii Sankt’ya is a magical keepsake from the Grishaverse.

These tales include miracles and martyrdoms from familiar saints like Sankta Lizabeta of the Roses and Sankt Ilya in Chains, to the strange and obscure stories of Sankta Ursula, Sankta Maradi, and the Starless Saint.

This beautiful collection includes stunning full-color illustrations of each story.




I was dying to pick up Leigh Bardugo's The Lives of Saints! Not only is it a book within a book, a book that will be seen in the new Netflix series...eventually! Is it weird to say that I love reading a book that was within a book? It doesn't happen often but when it does, oh wow!

What makes this book even more spectacular are the illustrations done by Daniel J. Zollinger. Major props to him for creating pictures that feel like ancient paintings of Saints from long ago.

There are 28 little short stories in this book and instead of detailing all of them, I'm just summarizing in general because some of these stories were only 2-3 pages long, the longer ones being around 5-6 pages. You can think of these stories as the origin stories of all the major Saints in the Grishaverse. I haven't been in the Grishaverse for a few years since I binged the Six of Crows duology, I'm waiting until March or April to start Nikolai's duology, so yeah, I haven't been back there in awhile, so I wasn't quick to remember if these Saints had been referenced previously, though ironically I was remembering the places that get mentioned within these stories.

In some ways, these stories resemble fairy tales. They have morals, lessons, magic, monsters--both of the human and not so human variety. We see the atrocities that humans commit on one another and the depths of others' devotions to their patron saint. Not all stories end with a happily ever after, and coming from the Grishaverse, this seems on point!

What was even more of a treat was getting the stories behind two other "saints" we met in the first Grisha books. I won't say it, but you know who I mean! Honestly, the story I loved most was the very last one, Saint of the Book. It was the shortest of the stories, but come on, it's bookish!

Needless to say, this is book for the Grisha fans! Though my memory has been sporadic and fuzzy throughout the world series, but I found myself enjoying my time reading this book immensely! As I said, I love reading books that are books within a book! It's one of the most magical experiences a reader can have! And since this is Leigh Bardugo we're talking about here, you know it's going to be one of the best books you've ever read!

Overall Rating 5/5 stars

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