Princess Alyrra’s strength lies in silence. Scorned by her family, she avoids the court, spending her time with servants. When her marriage is unexpectedly arranged with the prince of a powerful neighboring kingdom, Alyrra feels trapped. As the court celebrates her match, dark rumors spread about the unexplained deaths of the women of her new family. Alyrra begins her journey with mounting trepidation; betrayed while traveling, she seizes an opportunity to start a life away from court.
Walking away from a prince whom she doesn’t know should have been easy. But from the moment she sets eyes on him, Alyrra realizes that her freedom could cost him his life. Without any magical defense of her own, she is plunged into a lethal game of sorcery and deceit. Now Alyrra must decide whom she can trust and what she’s willing to fight for—before her silence proves fatal.
“Wow” is a good term to describe Thorn, debut YA fantasy novel by author Intisar Khanani. This book certainly left me in awe. That said, head over to Amazon now and get your free copy of Thorn. The free action is only from June 25th to June 28th, so get your copy now, because you don’t want to miss out on this one.
Thorn tells the story of the Goose Girl, a well-known fairytale I read a couple of times when I was a kid but never enjoyed that much. I mean, it was enjoyable, but I had other fairytales I enjoyed a lot more back then. However, this adapted version of Goose Girl is a spectacular novel that pulled me in from the first page and refused to let me go till I turned the last page. I had to take a short break due to studying between, else I would’ve read it in one sitting. It is, really, that good.
Princess Alyrra doesn’t have the life every fairytale princess dreams of. Her brother likes to torment her for no reason in particular besides his own twisted enjoyment, her dad passed away and her mom hasn’t said a kind word to her in years. She is forced to marry a prince she doesn’t know because her mother is convinced it will be a good decision for the Kingdom. Alyrra sets off to journey to the prince’s kingdom, until a woman mysteriously called The Lady switches her appearance with that of her lady-in-waiting, Valka. When Alyrra eventually arrives at the castle, the Prince makes her the new Goose Girl, and everyone starts calling her Thorn. What’s surprising is that Thorn isn’t exactly that appaled by her new status in life. She quite enjoys being a goose girl, and is reluctant to face her own destiny, and do what she needs to do to save the Kingdom. Shy and scared at first, she slowly grows into the person, the princess, she’s meant to be. With help from the famous horse Falada, who’s not actually a horse and miraculously enough can talk, she grows to accept the possibility of herself ruling a kingdom, and she grows into the new role she’s destined to play. When Alyrra’s feelings for the prince start to grow as well, she has no choice but to stand up for herself and what she believes in. And it’s about time.
Thorn’s character growth is amazing. She goes through an entire process, and not once does it grow to be unbelievable, do things happen to fast, etc. No, instead, her personality seems to grow almost like a plant, organically, without being pressured by anything except the circumstances of her life. That’s only a small sample of author Intisar Khanani’s skills: not only does she create characters I would love to cheer for, she also creates a solid, realistic fantasy world. I was truly impressed by her world-building skills, the easy flowing prose and the intriguing characters.
I liked how the villains, namely Valka and The Lady, aren’t one-dimensional either. Valka is a well-rounded character who goes through her own character growth: from being a nobody to being a somebody but realizing being a princess isn’t as good as it seems either. The prince is an interesting character as well. I loved how he realized something was wrong with Valka and Alyrra, but couldn’t quite pu this hinger on it. I loved his name as well. Kestrin. Gorgeous name. All right, so I may be a bit biased because of the character’s name, but don’t you just love that name?
I know a lot of people who easily skim past self-published books. Don’t. In this case you’ll really miss out on something. This story has so many twist and turns, such likeable characters, intriguing storylines and impressive world building that you need to read it. Like, now. What are you still doing here?