The Lives of Saints (Istorii Sankt’ya) | Review

☾ disclaimer

Thanks to a giveaway hosted by a lovely bookstagramer, I received the audiobook of The Lives of Saints free of charge.
This does not, in any way, affect my opinion of the book.
Potential Spoilers for all other books in the GrishaVerse.

☾ about the book

Title: The Lives of Saints (Ravkan: Istorii Sankt’ya)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The GrishaVerse
Published: 2020
Format: audiobook (also available as eBook and hardbound)
Pages: 121
Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
Trigger Warnings: death of multiple characters due to martyrdom (suicide, murder, execution, etc), bodyhorror, gore

☾ the synopsis

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.

☾ the saints

Thank you to Jessica for this extensive list.

sankta margaretha | patron saint of thieves and lost children
sankta anastasia | patron saint of the sick
sankt kho | patron saint of good intentions
sankta neyar | patron saint of blacksmiths
sankt juris | patron saint of soldiers
sankta vasilka | patron saint of unwed women
sankt nikolai | patron saint of sailors and lost causes
sankta lizabeta | patron saint of gardeners
sankta maradi | patron saint of impossible love
sankt demyan | patron saint of the newly dead
sankta marya | patron saint of those who are far from home
sankt emerens | patron saint of brewers
sankt vladimir | patron saint of the drowned and of unlikely achievement
sankt grigori | patron saint of doctors and musicians
sankt valentin | patron saint of snake charmers and the lonely
sankt petyr | patron saint of archers
sankta yeryin | patron saint of hospitality
sankt feliks | patron saint of horticulture
sankt lukin | patron saint of politicians
sankta magda | patron saint of abandoned women and bakers
sankt egmond | patron saint of architects
sankt ilya | patron saint of unlikely cures
sankta ursula | patron saint of those lost at sea
sankt matteus | patron saint of those who love and care for animals
sankt dimitri | patron saint of scholars
sankt gerasim | patron saint of artists
sankta alina | patron saint of orphans and those with undiscovered gifts
the starless saint | patron saint of those who seek salvation in the dark
saint of the book | patron saint of storytellers

☾ the world building

The reader is first introduced to the Istorii Sankt’ya when the Apparat gives a copy of it to Alina, one that is described to look exactly like the version that Leigh has published now.
The Istorii Sankt’ya is meant to be a children’s book, and upon being given it,. Alina disregards it, until the story of Sankt Ilya points her into the direction of the amplifiers the Darkling is hunting for.
The Sainzs are from different cities and countries within the GrishaVerse and offer a great insight into the lore that Leigh crafted for the universe.

☾ the narrators

Ben Barnes (who is set to portray General Kirigan in the upcoming Netflix adaptation of Shadow and Bone) reads the stories of the Sankts, and Lauren Fortgang reads the Stories of the Sanktas.
There isn’t really much to say about their qualities as narrators, or at least to me, because I listened to Ben narrate the Picture of Dorian Gray (which made me fall in love with the book) and Lauren narrate Holly Black’s Queen of Nothing and The Lost Sister’s.
I have nothging against either of them, and I found the way they narrated very pleasant to listen to.

☾ what i liked about this book

I liked that this book offered a temporary escape into a universe that means the world to me, and one that I have been missing since I put down King of Scars in January.
I don’t have much to say about the quality of the stories (keeping in mind that these are basically the Grimm’s tales equivalent to the GrishaVerse) – I thoroughly enjoyed the two hours I spent listening, purely because I got to puck up a couple pieces of lore along the way and just enjoy a moment in my favorite universe with characters that are (more or less) familiar to me.

☾ what i disliked about this book

I just want to make clear that there was nothing I personally disliked about The Lives of Saints, however I understand that a lot of people were rather disappointed with Leigh Bardugo’s original trilogy, and so this book might not be as relevant to them as it might be to someone who is rather immersed in the universe like I am.
Then again, you could also argue that the stories are too short, but again, your usual Grimm’s tale isn’t much longer than about one and a half pages either, so I thought the length is appropriate.

☾ should you read this book?

I think it’s quite hard to really recommend this book.
If you like your characters over lore and world-building, then this book isn’t going to give you much.
I think it is really more suitable for people who like to read novellas or fairytales and who don’t mind a light read that isn’t going to give them much character development while sprinkling in a few crumbs of lore. If you enjoyed The Language of Thorns, Little Knife, The Demon in the Wood, The Too-Clever Fox and The Tailor, this book is for you.

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