Author: Intisar Khanani
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publishing Date: March 24, 2020
Age Category & Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Retelling & Romance
A princess with two futures. A destiny all her own.
Between her cruel family and the contempt she faces at court, Princess Alyrra has always longed to escape the confines of her royal life. But when she’s betrothed to the powerful prince Kestrin, Alyrra embarks on a journey to his land with little hope for a better future.
When a mysterious and terrifying sorceress robs Alyrra of both her identity and her role as princess, Alyrra seizes the opportunity to start a new life for herself as a goose girl.
But Alyrra soon finds that Kestrin is not what she expected. The more Alyrra learns of this new kingdom, the pain and suffering its people endure, as well as the danger facing Kestrin from the sorceress herself, the more she knows she can’t remain the goose girl forever.
With the fate of the kingdom at stake, Alyrra is caught between two worlds and ultimately must decide who she is, and what she stands for.
✔ retelling of the Grimm’s fairy tale: The Goose Girl
✔ female protagonist finds her strength & purpose
✔ societal themes of justice and entitlement
✔ free-thinking Horse + sentient Wind
✔ slow-building, genuine romance
✔ villainous witch & robinhood-type thief
Thorn is YA dark retelling of a fairy tale that doesn’t confine to the mere recounting of fantastical occurrences but also explore themes important enough to discuss in a world of injustice, royal hierarchy, and risks imposed by hidden slavers and a revengeful witch. A wonderful storyline that empowers the female lead to strengthen her backbone for others and oneself, it definitely shows women empowerment without the usual support by males deemed necessary in such context. Shocking twists that are largely inspired by the original story, this fantasy hooks anyone interested in secrets capable of exploitation, regretful actions from the past, lost and found identities, and a serving of emotions with all of the above. Another aspect is the commendable representation of trauma that has risen from childhood familial pressure and grown because of constant comparisons to create bad impressions. The slow-pacing of the story is essential to its atmosphere but was a personal drawback. Overall, an emotionally heavy story that depicts excellent character development, especially of a female finding her purpose.
✔ domestic abuse
✔ belittling & bullying
✔ animal death (off-page)
✔ choking & authoritarian questioning
✔ physical & emotional abuse
✔ sexual assault
Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this via my participation in a blog tour but that, in no way, affects my rating and/or review. Thank you, FFBC tours, Intisar Khanani and Hot Key Books! This post may contain affiliate links which means I earn a percentage of your purchase using the link without any extra cost to you. Please consider buying through these affiliate links if you wish to support the blog. Thank you!
Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveller. Born in Wisconsin, she has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters. Prior to publishing her novels, Intisar worked as a public health consultant on projects relating to infant mortality and minority health, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy.