For Princess Alyrra, choice is a luxury she's never had ... until she's 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. While walking away will cost Kestrin his life, returning to the court may cost Alyrra her own.
I received an advance review copy from publisher via NetGalley. A HUGE thank you to NetGalley & the publisher for this opportunity to read and review. My opinions are unbiased.
Khanani has a beautiful language through which she tells this story. I found myself easily drawn into the narrative. The setting and characters were vivid. There was a nice variety of characters and social classes which lent to the overall story arc. I would enjoy reading another book by Khanani.
I really liked the growth of Alyrra. She has lived with an emotionally and physically abusive family. It’s a slow process to learn to stand up and speak up for yourself. When she comes to live with the hostler family, Alyrra finds it difficult to trust, but through them she finds acceptance and love which helps her accept the past and gives her hope for the future. In this sense, while I can understand Alyrra's motivations for not wanting to return to life at court, many times I was also frustrated by it. It would have been nice to see her finding the inner strength to act as a champion to the people much sooner. Instead there were multiple chapters of her wringing her hands over things. She knows what she should do for the good of others, but she is constantly in a state of indecision. I felt her endless excuses and hiding from her responsibilities tiring. And the banter between Alyrra and the prince became tedious.
I definitely would have liked the confrontation between Alyrra and the Lady to happen sooner. I loved the last few chapters when they both explored concepts of innocence versus justice. This challenging of each character’s long-held beliefs was sensitively and maturely handled. The two clearly had ways to heal each other’s past hurts, and this provided a great climax to the driving force of the story. This story explores how individuals with differing states of power deal with the awful things that happen in life, and it does so in an honest, heartfelt manner.
While "Thorn" had a few issues with dragging its feet a bit too long, it was a well-crafted retelling of a Grimm fairytale. Alyrra is an intelligent girl who grows in strength and confidence. She is respectful and also witty. She is observant and kind hearted. Thus, she's an excellent main character for young female readers. There were some good surprises in the story (which I felt were held back a bit too long, as previously said), but Khanani has some good things in store for her readers. All in all, I found this a worthwhile read and would recommend it.
"Descendants of Avalon"
Released via Inklings Publishing
("The Forgotten" volume 2)
Reviewed and awarded the
2016 Indie Editor's Choice
by the Historical Novel Society.
Long listed for the Historical Novel Society 2017 Indie Award.
Goodreads profile at: https://www.goodreads.com/JElse