Thursday, December 8, 2016

Review: Thorn by Intisar Khanani

Thorn by Intisar Khanani
Series: N/A
Genre: Fantasy/Retelling
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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.

"You are neither goose girl nor lady, but something better than them both."

As I'm sitting there reading this book, I'm trying to figure out why it took me so long to read it. I've heard wonderful stuff about it and - unusually for me - I kind of have to agree.

This is not a fast paced story. And a few times I wanted to shake the main girl and tell her to quit being so darn passive. (More on that later.) But what it is is a cute little tale of a young woman coming into her own and growing to become something more than she was at the start.

The story is about Alyrra, an unwanted princess from a small country that has little to offer suitors. (Both the kingdom and the princess, apparently.) At this book's core is a character driven tale - the plot just churns away quietly in the corner for most of the story. But, make no mistakes, this is Alyrra's story.

She's…a little difficult for me to get used to. She's passive in most ways - though is oddly capable at defending herself if the need arises. She's emotionally reserved and that's why this book being in the first person works so well. Because taking her natural reservations into account plus the distance that a third person point-of-view usually causes, there would have been no way to get attached to Alyrra. As it is, I found myself liking her almost from the start.

Even if I did want to shake her from time to time. But that's only because I like my girls to be a little more…gung ho. Determined. Stubborn. Pushy. Alyrra is not. She's the one getting pushed around and that made liking her at times not the easiest thing in the world for me.

Also, I have to add, she's been abused. There's only a couple moments on page where you get to see her abuser and her together, but there's really a creepy feel. My main reason for mentioning this is because it's not forgotten. Once Alyrra get's out of reach of her abuser, she doesn't just magically heal.

It takes her time to trust certain people - especially people that are a little more volatile and/or remind her in some way of her abuser. I like this. I like that time is taken to let Alyrra heal at her own pace and come to trust people as she will.

I liked the romance but, don't think that is the point of this story because, while it is there, this is completely about Alyrra's growth as a person.