My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Genre: YA Fantasy Retelling
Published: March 24th, 2020
Content warning: physical and psychological abuse, death, rape (not described but implied), attempted rape, death of an animal, abduction
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. – synopsis from Goodreads
Oh my gosh, you guys this book was SOOOOOOOOO good. It is by far one of the best books I’ve read this year. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Thorn by Intisar Khanani though it was getting really amazing reviews. But I loved it to pieces, so Yay!
Ok so first off, can I just say how refreshing to see a retelling of a fairytale that isn’t overdone. I love the usual suspects but come on I can’t read another retelling of B&B. Thorn is inspired by the story of the Goose Girl. I don’t think I’ve seen a YA retelling of that yet and now I am questioning why. It works so well in a YA fantasy setting. I want to see this story made into a movie. It kept screaming Disney Princess to me from start to finish. I haven’t seen the Goose Girl story made into any movie I don’t think but it would be so fitting as a Disney animation. It has everything from a kickass heroine to a jealous rival & an evil witch also let’s not forget a dashing prince (waggle eyebrow here).
Princess Alyrra would fit so well with all the other Princesses. She is one of the most developed characters I’ve seen this year. Her character arc was so well thought out. I was rooting for her throughout her story. From her struggles with her family to her coming to terms with her role as a princess she felt so relatable to me. We all struggle to find our place in this world and sometimes, just sometimes, where we are is not where we wish we could be. This was for me very much a story of how the princess saves herself in the end while saving others along the journey too.
Thorn had so many layers to it. It showed us that behind every beautiful kingdom nothing is perfect. Behind all the richness of the kingdom, there is also poverty and corruption. I found it to be a mirror of our world. How some people around the world live in fear of where their next meal will come from or how they will offer a better future to their children. How sometimes people will turn to crime if there isn’t guidance and help there for them. All these layers and many aspects of the story just shows how great of a storyteller Intisar Khanani is. Her prose was exquisite and felt like a fairytale without it being too flowery. The pacing of Thorn was just right and so well balanced. It didn’t leave me breathless or bored but kept me curious and wanting more.
If you are looking for an amazing book with a retelling that isn’t overdone, might I recommend you pick up Thorn? I swear you won’t be disappointed. This was an amazing story that kept me wanting more.
Thank you to HaperTeen, Edelweiss and Fantastic Flying Book Club for providing an eArc in exchange for an honest review.
“My brother called a fool by a talking horse, and I the hope for humanity?”
“Spare me, O Lady of the Shovel.”
“I am not about to let one unfriendly man rob me of my chance at happiness.”
“You have learned the words. You must start to use them now. Language is a weapon Alyrra. You must learn to defend yourself with what you can.”
I decided to go with a lot of instrumental songs for this one. I did throw couple songs in there as well
Aurora’s Theme by Coeur de Pirate
Human by Christina Perri
True Colors by Cindy Lauper
The Carnival of the Animals R.125: XIII. The Swan by Saint-Saëns
Funeral Dirge by Coeur de Pirate
High Hopes by Panic! at the Disco
Isabel the Strong by Steve Jablonsky
Dark Creatures by Coeur de Pirate
Human by Rag’n’Man
Talia’s Theme by Two Steps from Hell
Off to Sleep by Coeur de Pirate
About the author
Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. She has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, 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. She is the author of The Sunbolt Chronicles and Thorn (HarperTeen (US) / Hot Key (UK), 2020).
You can follow Intisar through the links below:
1st Prize: Win a book of your choice from Bookdepository (Open INTERNATIONALLY, where Bookdepository ship)
2nd Prize: Win a THORN swag pack (stickers, bookmark, and a signed bookplate) [Open INTERNATIONALLY]
Starts: 24th March 2020
Ends: 7th April 2020
Enter the giveaway ⇒ HERE
Intisar is extending this promotion until the end of the tour, so we have a chance to share this:
On March 24th Thorn will be releasing from Hot Key (UK) and HarperTeen (US/CA)! To celebrate, I’m offering some amazing Thorn goodies to everyone who …
- pre-orders/orders a copy of Thorn before March 31st at 23.59.
- OR requests it from their library (library hold / suggested purchase) before March 31st at 23.59.
Here’s what’s up for grabs:
Physical goodies (US/UK): PHOTO AVAILABLE ON DROPBOX
- A Thorn Bookmark
- A set of Chibi Stickers featuring Thorn characters
- A Signed Bookplate
PLUS Digital goodies (worldwide):
- A PDF of Brambles – a Thorn prequel short story so you can jump into Alyrra’s world now!
- A PDF of The (Annotated) Goose Girl – the original fairytale with annotations from yours truly in the margin
- A coloring page of three Thorn-themed bookmarks
All you need to do to enter is send a proof of purchase (or screenshot of your library hold), your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org. T&Cs apply!
UK entrants: Hot Key Books rocks and can mail you physical goodies as well as the digital. Check it out here: http://hotkeybooks.com/thorn-pre-order/
Non-US/UK entrants: I really, really wanted to offer you the physical goodies, but postage is a bear. If you would like to cover the cost of an international stamp ($1.20), I can absolutely mail you the goodies as well. E-mail in your proof/screenshot for your digital goodies, and I’ll link you up so you can do that.
Original link: http://booksbyintisar.com/thorn-pre-order/
The universal book link for purchasing Thorn is: www.books2read.com/thorn