Series: N/A (Standalone)
Author: Intisar Khanani (http://booksbyintisar.com)
Cover Designer: Jenny Zemanek (http://www.seedlingsonline.com)
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release Date: May 30, 2012
Publisher: Purple Monkey Press
Price: US $3.99 (eBook), US $9.99 (paperback)
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, sometimes the hardest choice means learning to trust herself.
“Princess Alyrra,” the king says. My eyes flick up to his, my legs frozen in their curtsy. He studies me as if I were a prize goat, his gaze sliding over me before returning to my face, as cold and calculating as a butcher. “We have heard tell of you before.”
“My lord?” My voice sounds unnaturally high even to me.
“It is said you are honest. An unusual trait, it would seem.”
I open my mouth, close it, force some semblance of a smile to my lips. My brother has gone rigid, his hands pressed flat against his thighs.
“You are most kind,” my mother says, stepping forward. The king watches me a moment longer, leaving my mother waiting. I cannot say what he thinks, why he would mention something sure to raise old grievances, why he would care. Or is he only toying with us? Laughing at us?
He turns to my mother, offering her a courtly smile, and at her words he accompanies her up the three stairs and through the great wooden doors of our Hall. My brother and I trail behind him, a mix of our nobles and the king’s entourage on our heels.
“Honest Alyrra,” my brother mocks, his voice loud enough for those nearest us to hear. “What a very clever, sophisticated princess you must be.”
I bite my lip. It is going to be a long week, watching my back and hiding down corridors. And with so many guests, the wine and ale will flow freely, which will make things even worse. Just leave, I think at the king’s back. Just go home and leave us alone.
Thorn by Intisar Khanani is a wonderful fantasy story. I stayed up reading it until I simply couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer because I had to know what would happen. The story has all the elements of a hero’s quest, packed full of mythology, magic, and trials for the characters. Despite Alyrra’s birth as a princess, she is easy to identify with because she hasn’t had an easy life and is a kind but naïve young woman. The author does a fantastic job of creating realistic characters with both good aspects and flaws, which made me able to relate to all of the characters, even the ones who appeared at first glance to be “bad.” The story and the writing were reminiscent of Juliet Marillier’s books, and I think anyone who enjoys her work will fall in love with Thorn. This is a book I highly recommend reading because it is an engrossing and exciting fantasy novel.
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About the Author:
Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world 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.
Intisar currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters. Until recently, she wrote grants and developed projects to address community health and infant mortality with the Cincinnati Health Department—which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy.
Intisar’s latest projects include a serial novella project titled The Sunbolt Chronicles, about a young thief with a propensity to play hero, and her arch-nemesis, a dark mage intent on taking over the Eleven Kingdoms. She’s also developing a companion trilogy to her debut novel Thorn, which will feature a new heroine introduced in her free short story The Bone Knife.