review: the lives of saints by leigh bardugo

January 27, 2021

As a massive fan of both the Grishaverse and mythology/lore, it was only a matter of time until I needed to get my hands on Leigh Bardugo’s The Lives of Saints, the latest book set in said universe. Described as a beautiful collection of tales of saints directly out of the Grishaverse with stunning full-colour illustrations of said stories, this book promised to be a fast, yet delightful read.

You can choose faith or you can choose fear. But only one will bring what you long for.

I have to admit that the sheer thought of getting to know more of the lore of the Grishaverse was already enough to make me want to read the book. I’m also easily swayed with beautiful illustrations, thus it isn’t exactly surprising that I enjoyed this book a lot. It is also noticeable that this book features several stories about saints, so it’s more like a short story collection than a whole novel. For me, that meant that I wouldn’t treat it as a novel and was probably way more generous with my rating than normally.

The Lives of Saints is a real-life replica of the Istorii Sankt’ya, the book of saints inside the Grishaverse. The real-life version of the book can be found inside one of the stories, featured as an illustration. This may sound like some sort of inception, but personally, I enjoyed seeing that connection. Overall, the illustrations for each saint were excellent. Artist Dan Zollinger really captured the essence of each saint and their corresponding story and I thought that his style couldn’t be more fitting. The illustrations helped the book a lot because without them I might not have enjoyed anything as much as I did.

I adore Bardugo’s style of writing, though I didn’t find it as compelling as in her other works. This might be due to the fact that these are short stories, without any dialogue. But it was still charming and I liked the variety of saints – even though most of the stories followed a similar path. But as I already mentioned, I was far more generous with my rating this time. Mostly because I loved the nostalgia to be back inside one of my comfort universes and the whole lore just made me happy.

Leigh Bardugo’s The Lives of Saints is a beautiful addition to the already existing novels of the Grishaverse, even though you don’t need to read it to understand the rest of the world. Still, I am glad that I picked this one up because it made me crave both the Shadow and Bones series as well as the Six of Crows duology and I might as well re-read both (especially with Shadow and Bone coming to Netflix this year)!


I enjoyed the short stories about the different saints a lot and especially fell in love with the amazing illustrations featured in the book. Bardugo’s writing isn’t as strong as in her other works, which relates to the fact that there is no dialogue and little overall plot.

the rating:

As I stated in my latest blog post, I’m now using the CAWPILE rating system. The Lives of Saints got the following scores:

Characters: 8
Atmosphere: 9
Writing Style: 8
Plot: 8
Intrigue: 9
Logic / Relationships: 8
Enjoyment: 10

This translates into the following rating:

Comments (2)

  • Margaret

    January 27, 2021 at 15:14

    I’m so glad you reviewed this one! It was gifted to me for Christmas and I haven’t felt the need to pick it up yet, but I’m thinking maybe I’ll just read a short story a week instead of trying to read it all at once. I’m also very excited for the netflix show!

    1. Jasmin

      January 29, 2021 at 08:57

      Ahhh Margaret, I’m so glad to hear that! I also had the book since mid-November, so it also took me quite some time to pick it up. But it was wonderful to get back to the world of Grisha and it’s a nice preparation for the show! I hope you’re going to enjoy it! ❤️

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