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4.4 out of 5
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  • YES yes yes!

    Alyrra is the princess of the small woodland kingdom of Adania. When the king of Menaiya arrives with the intention of betrothing her to his son Prince Kestrin, she is torn between the joy of leaving her abusive family behind, and the fear that she has only been chosen because she is disposable. There are whispers of a curse on the royal family of Menaiya, and that their queen died of a mysterious illness. The journey takes a turn Alyrra never expected, and her arrival to the royal city of Tarinon opens her up to an unexpected world of possibilities she had never even considered. I remember as a child, my eldest sister decided to read to me from a book of fairytales we had. We knew all the usual ones of course, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Beauty and the Beast. We searched the index page, and picked one that we didn't know - The Little Goose Girl. Although we enjoyed the story and it's bizarre twists, we were left mostly confused by how odd it was, with it's talking droplets of blood and the morbid decapitated horse. I have always remembered that afternoon, how Anna and I shared that strange fairytale and laughed at it's uncanny atmosphere, but overall how we discovered a new story together. When I started reading Thorn and I realised that it was based on The Little Goose Girl, I got so excited! I couldn't see how Khanani would bring the story together to create something engaging, relevant and beautiful, but I was excited to find out if it worked. Let me tell you, it works. From page one I loved Alyrra. She is kind and gentle and generous, and everything that I love in a protagonist. She is fierce and loyal, and she know what she needs in order to be herself and to be happy. I have truly loved reading about a young woman who recognises her own shortcomings and frailty, but loves herself despite them, always choosing to be a better person. Very early on in this story there is a life-altering event, which is entirely unjust and cruel. My gut reared in anger and bitterness, and I felt frustrated at reading yet another story in which the protagonist was going to have to struggle for freedom and happiness beneath the heel of a vile and cruel villain. Only that's not what happened. The turn around that Alyrra takes is breathtaking, and gives this whole book so much life and love, I felt happy to read it even when the going got hard, not tense and upset as I often do in stories where there is injustice. The scope of this story is beautifully wide, and even though there are many paths it never feels bitty or scattered. The characters are engaging and complex and lovable. I love the classic fairytale feel mingled with middle eastern culture, in a world uniquely its own. I would absolutely recommend Thorn to any lover of classic fairytales and their retellings. I would rate it above Throne of Swans and just a speck below Stepsister. It is perfect for fans of Gail Carson Levine and Robin McKinley.

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    6 person found this review helpful

    6 people found this review helpful

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Thirn

    A morphing princess, unavoidable betrayal, a talking horse, this gripping book is impossible not 2 love, for ages 10+. Spme words are either hard to read or hard to pronounce. I loved this book and i hope this review will help u in some way

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    3 person found this review helpful

    3 people found this review helpful

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Beyond good

    Captivating storytelling. I could not put this story down. Intisar incorporates lesser known fairy tales in a desctiptive and all encompasing narrative.

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    2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

    2 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Wind

    3.5 Stars This is one of those books you need to free up a good hour or so to start reading it as it takes a while to warm up and draw you in. Pretty much your standard Fantasy fare initially - vaguely Medieval in format and appearance society where Magic exists and everyone is aware of it. Abused daughter of the family is in a precarious situation (in this case it is the daughter of the King) and has to sacrifice herself for the good of the family even though they treat her worse than one of their servants. Although you know that Alyrra is going to come out on top it is actually quite fun getting there and I did enjoy reading the book. There are some bits that really don't seem to belong and it gets a bit bogged down in its own rhetoric from time to time. However, the whole idea behind what happens to Alyrra on her way to this neighbouring land to be married off to their Prince is well thought through and gives her a genuine chance to escape from her previous life. I'm still not sure why the main device to assist her is a talking horse - I kept singing the Mr Ed theme music whenever he took centre stage which spoilt it somewhat for me. Each interaction with The Lady gets progressively odder and what was initially suspenseful becomes a little bit bland by the time we get to the ultimate Showdown. The end just felt very rushed somehow and it isn't given anywhere near as much space to develop as the ancillary storylines. This is a shame as from what we do learn of The Lady and her relationship to the Royal Family you can understand her behaviour towards them and why her Magical Garden has become her place of solace. However, from Kestrin's reactions to what subsequently occurs I don't think I really understand The Lady's reaction and not enough time is given to extrapolating. Every other interaction gets plenty of space to breathe and live on the page (sometimes for far too long) so it seems strange this is so truncated. Other than that it is a pretty standard Medievalish Fantasy Romp that does keep the reader entertained and engaged enough to WANT to read on.

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    1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful

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