18 June 2020

Thorn - Review

Thorn - Dauntless Path #1
by Intisar Khanani

What they say: For Princess Alyrra, choice is a luxury she's never had ... until she's betrayed.

Princess Alyrra has never enjoyed the security or power of her rank. Between her family's cruelty and the court's contempt, she has spent her life in the shadows. Forced to marry a powerful foreign prince, Alyrra embarks on a journey to meet her betrothed with little hope for a better future.

But powerful men have powerful enemies--and now, so does Alyrra. Betrayed during a magical attack, her identity is switched with another woman's, giving Alyrra the first choice she's ever had: to start a new life for herself or fight for a prince she's never met. But Alyrra soon finds that Prince Kestrin is not at all what she expected. While walking away will cost Kestrin his life, returning to the court may cost Alyrra her own. As Alyrra is coming to realize, sometime the hardest choice means learning to trust herself.

Thorn will be re-released by HarperTeen.

What I say: I didn't read Thorn when it was first published but I really enjoyed reading the rereleased Harper Teen edition. 

I have to admit I've read a lot of YA fantasy stories recently where the main character has been difficult to like, but thankfully there's something awkwardly charming about Alyrra, the reluctant princess. The story itself is a retelling of the Goose Girl. Don't worry, if you haven't read it I won't spoil either story for you.

Alyrra has suffered at the hands of a family who are supposed to support and love her. As a princess she's seen as a burden and her only role is to be married off to form an alliance with another kingdom. As a result, she's weary of royalty and is distrustful of those in positions of power. A series of events sees Alyrra find a newfound freedom and a different role. From princess to goose girl she is caring, fierce and determined in both roles. I found her believable and relatable and wanted her to find her true place in the world. There are a lot of secret reveals and betrayals throughout the story so be prepared for twists.

One of my favourite elements was the unusual romance. Alyrra is not sure of her feelings for Kestrin but she respects and admires him and what he stands her. He defies her expectations and can see her when others cannot. I liked the slow burn and sense of camaraderie between them.

The secondary characters are well written and developed. They really bring something to the story and enrich the world building to the point I found myself immersed in the narrative.

4.5 Stars in my Sky!


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