Book Review of Thorn
Author: Intisar Khanani
Genre: YA Fantasy
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.
Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and 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 now resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and young daughter. Intisar writes grants and develops projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which is as close as she can get to saving the world. Her approach to writing fantasy reflects her lifelong passion for stories from different cultures. She is currently writing a trilogy set in the same world as Thorn. This is her first novel.
My website: http://www.thornthenovel.com
Links to purchase options will be made available at the release (May 30th, 2012). Thorn will be available via major e-retailers, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, and Sony. Amazon will also have a print edition available.
“Well, Alyrra, you are off. Are you worried?” I incline my head in assent. “With good cause,” Mother agrees, her voice relaxed, sleepy. “I have devised some help for you against the sorceress, if she is truly a danger. It is a simple but potent spell.”
I nearly choke—magic? Since when has my mother dabbled in magic? And how abysmally little I know her if I do not know this! She unfolds a square of white silk no larger than a kerchief.
“What spell is that?”
She smiles a slow cat smile. “Watch.”
She picks up a needle that glints gold in the lamplight and pricks her finger. As the first drop wells up and falls to spread on the silk she begins to chant:
“Heart’s blood, ruby drop
Bind my love to you;
Mind’s blood, dark drop,
Bind my knowledge to you;
Soul’s blood, last drop,
Bind all strength to you.”
A wave of dizziness passes over me. I stagger sideways, bumping into the edge of the desk. When I raise a hand to my face it comes away damp with sweat.
“What have you done?”
I love reformulated fairy tales, especially this one. I have read several different versions of “The Goose Girl” which is the tale this novel is based on. The author has taken this simple tale and turned it into a complex, moving novel. I am awed with how a writer can take something and make it so much better.
Alyrra is raised in a seriously dysfunctional household. Her brother physically abuses her, often leaving bruises or cuts. When the king from a neighboring kingdom comes to negotiate for a bride for his son, he realizes that she is not safe and leaves men to protect her from her family. However, they find a way to sabotage her anyway by sending deceitful people with her for the journey. And, as you know from the story, she is made to change places with the other girl and ends up working for the King as a goose girl or stable hand.
Watching the relationships in this story evolve, you realize that the princess has a good heart and has truly learned what it should mean to be the leader of a people. She uses the time as a goose girl to learn what the country really needs, but refuses to be used as a pawn in the situation. She wants the prince to make his own decisions and to take a stand because it’s the right thing to do.
I give this story 5 out of 5 clouds. A definite must read.
This product or book may have been distributed for review; this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.