Book Review: The Lives of Saints (Grishaverse) by Leigh Bardugo

Book Review: The Lives of Saints (Grishaverse) by Leigh Bardugo

The Lives of Saints by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an audio copy of this book from the publisher, Macmillan Audio, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

“I was never truly awake until I began to dream of other worlds.”

The Lives of Saints is a fascinating collection of short stories about, well, the lives of saints, that I’m sure will add greatly to the world building of Bardugo’s Grishaverse. Incredibly reminiscent of books about the lives of Catholic saints, but with more of a fairytale feel, I found the collection charming. I loved the combination of religious and fantastical. The stories are formulaic in the best sense of the word. A collection like this in the real world is supposed to be for spiritual edification first and entertainment second, so I can only assume that’s the feel that Bardugo was going for. However, these were far from dry, and were without a doubt entertaining.

The saints presented in the collection were wonderfully varied, though most of the tales adhered to one common trope or another. There were pious youths who find themselves persecuted, superstitious citizens who killed what they didn’t understand, cowards who took their blessings so much for granted that they refused to protect them, and greedy nobles who insisted on draining a gift completely dry. The inclusion of these tropes imbued the collection with a timeless quality that reminded me of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Even the cover art hearkens back to Butler’s Lives of the Saints.

Honestly, I haven’t read most of the Grishaverse books. My sister-in-law has read them all and loves them. The only one I’ve read is Six of Crows, which I enjoyed. But, while I have yet to return to Bardugo’s world, it has always been my intention. I thought this audiobook would be a perfect way to dip my toe back into the Grisha waters, so to speak.

The Lives of Saints is a book that features in the main series, and I love when authors pull out fictional things like this from their world building and make them real. At 128 pages in physical and a little over 2 hours in audio, it’s a very fast read. The audio version is narrated by Lauren Fortgang and Ben Barnes. BEN BARNES. I usually try to always read things in publication order, but BEN BARNES, Y’ALL. Both narrators did an impeccable job conveying these short stories.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the audio, I was very glad to have a digital copy on my phone because the illustrations were gorgeous. There’s something about being read to while also reading the words yourself that reminds me of fairy tales from my childhood, which did nothing but improve my experience with this book. I was also able to get my hands on the physical edition and it is stunning.  The hardcover would make a truly lovely gift.  I have no doubt that The Lives of Saints will be a 5 star read for those who are already enraptured with the Grishaverse.

You can order this book from: (Support independent bookstores!) | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Audible | (Another way to support independent bookstores!) | Book Depository (Free shipping worldwide!)

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