by Intisar Khanani
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.
My Thoughts – 4 Stars
Apparently this book is a retelling of The Goose Girl, but I am unfamiliar to that story and cannot express my opinion in relation to it. But, I enjoyed it very much.
It seems opposite of a lot of fantasy books I read. Normally the character enters into the royal court and learns what life is like there. (Grave Mercy, Throne of Glass, etc.) But Thorn is the reversal of this. Alyrra, also known as Thorn, is part of a royal family but is arranged to marry a prince from a much larger kingdom.
On the way to her new home and to meet her soon-to-be husband, something happens that changes her station in life. She finds her self, happily, no longer part of the royal court. Her life completely changes but she finds that she loves it.
She learns the language of her new land, and becomes a hard worker in the goose barn where she works. Her relationships are the highlight in this book. There are many heart felt moments and her relationships are powerful.
This book is a fantasy so obviously magic is present. There is a sorceress who is an enemy of the King and Prince whom rule Alyrra’s new land. This woman is the reason to many difficulties in both the Prince’s life and hers.
Did you say “talking magical horse”? Why yes, this book also has a talking horse Falada whom I did enjoy. The aspect of a talking horse reminded me of Iron Horse from the Iron Fey series, even though Falada is much different in character.
I would definitely recommend this book. The imagery is beautiful in this book from the palace to the stables. But mostly the relationships, whether good or bad, were my favorite part of this book. There were quite a few surprises that kept me interested and I really loved this book.
Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. Born in Wisconsin, she has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. She first remembers seeing snow on a wintry street in Zurich, Switzerland, and vaguely recollects having breakfast with the orangutans at the Singapore Zoo when she was five. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters. 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. Intisar’s next two projects include a companion trilogy to Thorn, following the heroine introduced in her short story The Bone Knife, and The Sunbolt Chronicles, a novella serial following a young mage with a propensity to play hero, and her nemesis, a dark mage intent on taking over the Eleven Kingdoms.