blog tour; thorn (review + excerpt!)

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.

I’m so excited to participate in this book tour! Before I get to my review, I have an excerpt for you guys:

“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?”

Awesome, right? And let me tell you, the rest of the book doesn’t disappoint either!

Princess Alyrra hails from a tiny little kingdom filled with lovely forests. Despite her royal status, Alyrra doesn’t exactly have the life of a princess. Her mother, the Queen, couldn’t care less about her daughter, and Alyrra’s brother is physically abusive. The only friends she has are the servants and her horse, Fleet Wind.

One day, the king from a neighboring kingdom shows up and Alyrra learns she is to wed Prince Kestrin, a man she has never met, and move to a land she has never seen (and learn an entirely new language). Naturally, she isn’t happy with this plan, but her troubles have only just started.

Along her journey to meet Kestrin, Alyrra ventures off into the woods with her companion, Valka (daughter of a lord and a girl who detests Alyrra and wants to seek revenge for something that happened when they were children). As they stop to get some water a rather nasty witch makes good on her pact with Valka. Suddenly Valka and Alyrra have switched bodies and now it is Valka (in Alyrra’s body) who will marry a prince while using her new-found status to cast Alyrra off as nothing more than a goose girl.

Thorn is less than 200 pages, yet there is so much that happens! Alyrra – who adopts the name Thorn – was an extremely likeable heroine, something I’ve unfortunately found lacking in most YA. Regardless of the punishments doled out to her, she doesn’t complain and works through her troubles. She decides to make the most of her new position in life and actually looks forward to getting a fresh start.

The secondary characters were all marvelous. Laurel, Violet, Falada, Red Hawk, there were tons and I adored every single one. What was such a joy to see what that they all had their own individual personality. At not point did I feel as though I was reading about some stock, cardboard character.

My only qualm with Thorn is that there are many questions I have left unanswered. There were people who showed up for a few scenes and then were never mentioned again. Certain magical elements left me a little confused. I would have liked to see a few things better explained or at least wrapped up nicely.

Shockingly enough, my other issue lies with the romance! This is NOT a case of insta-love, so that definitely received a thumbs up from me. However, after all Kestrin and Alyrra go through together – particularly that last battle! – it’s disappointing that there’s only a hug and one moment of hand-holding.

When all is said and done, Thorn is a very quick read and extremely entertaining!

Be sure to check out the rest of the stops here and enter the giveaway for a cloak made by the author!

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2 thoughts on “blog tour; thorn (review + excerpt!)

  1. Intisar Khanani says:

    Hi Leah –

    Thanks so much for your review of Thorn. I’m sorry the “romance” didn’t quite deliver for you! I guess that’s something for me to work on in future. :)

    Best,
    Intisar

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