Author: Intisar Khanani
Series: Dauntless Path #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, High Fantasy, Romance, Retelling
Publication date: March 24th, 2020
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.
“Hate is a strange thing, Thorn. We do not always understand it.”
Holy guacamole! I honestly didn’t think I was going to love this book as much as I did, but I guess life surprises you sometimes. I always love a good fairytale retelling, but I haven’t really enjoyed the Goose Girl’s retellings I’ve read in the past. Nonetheless, I decided to give this a chance because it sounded pretty awesome, and I’m so glad I did because I ended up completely falling in love with this novel.
I think Thorn had a great balance between plot and characters. It’s true that it had a very slow burning plot and it wasn’t particularly action packed, but I was so engaged since page one, and I didn’t get bored at all because there was always something happening that kept me interested in the story.
Something I really enjoyed was how the author built that whimsical and fairytale-esque atmosphere. It totally felt like I was reading an old fairytale book, and the descriptions and characters fit so well with what the author was telling. It had certain elements that you usually find in those types of stories, but somehow she managed to create her own story.
Now, when it comes to the characters, I honestly thought I was going to dislike our protagonist, because she’s your typical YA old fantasy main character, and I can totally see why people wouldn’t like her, but to be honest, I ended up really enjoying her arc and her evolution throughout the story. She wasn’t super aggressive or brave in the literal sense of the word, but I think the way she was written made her quite an interesting character, and I loved how her relationships with the different characters were written.
And something that I completely adored about this book was the villain trope. I love me a good morally grey villain where you end up sympathizing with them, and that’s exactly what happened in Thorn. I found the villain so interesting. I also really liked how the romance wasn’t insta lovey or rushed, and though there were some romantic scenes happening, the romance wasn’t the main focus of the story whatsoever.
On the other side, I had some issues that I wanted to addressed. Though I think the magic system was pretty interesting, it’s true that the explanations were a bit lacking. There wasn’t a lot of information about the magic and its limitations or how it worked, and that was a bit confusing sometimes when a character was using it. Also, the ending felt a bit rushed and I would have liked for the climax of the story to be more surprising, and it was too lineal.
Overall, I really enjoyed Thorn, and it ended up really surprising me in a good way. The plot and the characters were really well done, and the writing was beautiful and flushed. I think it was a very interesting retelling that had some or the original tale’s elements, but she managed to create her own story.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t change my opinion whatsoever. All thoughts are my own.
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