Text reads "Review: The Lives of Saints" by Leigh Bardugo" over a photo of the open book
Book Reviews

Review: The Lives of Saints by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 5 out of 5.

“There have been too many stories in between, miracles and martyrdoms, too much blood spilt, too much ink. There was a war. There were a thousand wars. I knew a killer. I knew a hero. They might have been the same man.’’ 

The Lives of Saints, Leigh Bardugo

Hi everyone! Today I will be talking about The Lives of Saints by Leigh Bardugo which is a companion book to her other books in the Grishaverse. Also if you are a Grishaverse fan, you might be interested to know that there’s an art fundraiser going on right now until April 23. Artists have teamed up and designed beautiful Grisha-themed works for sale on RedBubble with all proceeds going to support BLM and Stop Asian Hate. Check it out here!

How stunning is this book?

The Lives of Saints tells the stories of the various saints in the Grishaverse, and the physical copy is actually designed to look like a copy of the Istorii Sankt’ya that Alina would have in Shadow and Bone! I love this idea because it’s like you have something out of the universe for yourself. When it first was released, there was a lot of criticism on how the half dust jacket looked with the book, but the reason it’s there is so information is not printed on the physical book and it looks as close to a replica as it can be. The dust jacket can easily be taken off too!

close up of gold detailing on the red cover of "The Lives of Saints", background is the sky and branches of a tree
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I would recommend getting a physical copy of the book if you can, as it is so pretty! The book is very sturdy and the texture makes it feel like a real religious text, especially with the beautiful gold foil decorating it. This attention to detail continues on inside with beautiful illustrations for each saint’s story. I initially wasn’t sure if I would buy it for myself since it is on the pricer side, but I was lucky enough to receive a copy as a gift from my friend, Karli! I’m really grateful that she got it for me because it is the perfect addition to my collection! 

Thoughts on the Stories

I first heard the story of Sankt Nikolai, because Leigh Bardugo read it on her IGTV just before the release date and I loved it so much. (I think this would be great to read in audiobook form as well! I also just saw that Ben Barnes narrates it so, YES) The stories are just a few pages long so it is very fast to move through, but I also think you could take your time and come back to this book since they all are individual stories! The Lives of Saints displays Leigh Bardugo’s work as an incredibly enchanting storyteller with the twists and turns she packs in these short stories. Some people might prefer The Language of Thorns for the longer stories, but I personally enjoyed The Lives of Saints more!

Some stories are based only on the saint’s life, while others tell the story of someone who prays to that certain saint. I think my favourites were probably Sankt Nikolai and Sankt Egmond (which gives the story of how the Ice Court came to be, which Six of Crows fans will love). There are of course other references to the Grisha Trilogy with “Sankta Alina of the Fold” and “The Starless Saint” at the end of the book which were also very cool to read. The stories can get quite dark (a lot are martyr stories) and I think I had a nightmare from reading this before bed the other night, so I’d recommend maybe not reading before bed if you’re like me…

Let me know your thoughts, feelings, and/ or questions on The Lives of Saints! Have you read it, or are you planning to?

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