Thorn by Intisar Khanani
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.
I received this e-ARC through edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my thoughts which are unbiased.
First of all can we talk about the cover because honestly that’s what caught my attention about this book in the first place! I love the color scheme and the simplicity of it!
Anyway, I sort of went into this only knowing that a) it’s a fantasy and b) it’s written by a Muslim author… and that’s really all that had me sold on the book! I don’t think I actually ever read Goose Girl, so I had no idea what to expect! The first few chapters as we’re being introduced to the characters and the world, I was slightly confused, but then the story took such an interesting turn and I was immediately hooked!
My experience was only hindered by the fact that it took me so long to read this book because life got in the way, and that made it harder to keep interest, and that’s not even the fault of the author, that’s just life and mood-reading. This wasn’t a story that was heavy on the action, but the magic and characters were so beautiful!
I loved Alyrra so much. She had this innocence that I didn’t understand at first, especially because her family was just so terrible. And then we see her develop into such a wonderful character. The experiences she goes through made her evolve and I really loved that development!
The story itself was really intriguing! I really had no idea what would happen or how the problems would be solved, so I enjoyed seeing it all unfold, especially in the end when everything started to come full circle! It was a slow, but natural pacing and it sped up near the end, which was really fun!
Though we didn’t get too much depth to many of the side characters, they were all important in one way or another and seeing her friendships with everyone and how they impacted Alyrra’s character and the plot was really cool!
One thing that I think everyone should be warned about is the depictions of abuse, mentions of rape, and also there was an animal death. I was very shocked by that last one for sure. Other than that, everything was handled really well and the topics that were discussed were really important not just for the plot/character, but just in general.
I would recommend this to anyone who wants a unique story about a girl who finds herself and finds herself family, friendship, and a home. If you enjoy trading places, magical horses, powerful women, and found family, this is a good book for you! There’s mystery, intriguing villains, desperate times and desperate measures, twists and turns, and overall an amazing experience!