I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Thorn by Intisar Khanani
on May 30, 2012
Genres: Fairytale, Retelling, Romance, Fantasy
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.
Thorn by Intisar Khanani is a retelling of the classic Grimm’s fairy tale: The Goose Girl. I received this from the publisher on Netgalley, and I was really excited to read it. If you’ve been following my blog, you’d know fairy tale retellings are right up my alley, and this one has pretty good reviews on Goodreads. But despite this, I couldn’t make it past the first 30% of the book. And I’ve been debating for the past three days whether I should keep going with the hope that it’ll get better, or if I should stop and move on. I decided to stop and move on. So this review is strictly based on what I read–the first 30%. It may have gotten better later and I’ll never know…but here is why I put the book down for good:
I think the biggest reason I finally stopped reading was because the main character Alyrra has no personality. She is a completely passive person, just observing what’s going on around her and that’s it. She literally never reacts to anything that’s going on around her. And there are some pretty crazy things going on around her. For instance, she wakes up in the middle of the night once to find a strange man at the foot of her bed. And her feeling is described as “relief” that it’s not her abusive brother. Which is understandable. Like, hurray your psycho abusive brother isn’t there to kill you. But having a psycho abusive brother would also make anyone wary of any men…especially strange unknown men standing at the foot of your bed in the middle of the night. And she feels relieved? What is that?
And then again when an evil witch with holes for eyes barges into her window while she’s sleeping one night…yup, nothing. She doesn’t do anything! I feel like anyone would be rather concerned.
And then the evil eyeless witch (will be referred to as the EWW from now on) comes back and switches Alyrra with one of her ladies-in-waiting…Like literally the EEW pulls a Freaky Friday and switches them. The lady-in-waiting goes into Princess Alyrra’s body and vice versa. And of course the EWW provides a way to ensure that Alyrra stays quiet and cannot tell anybody about what happened…but you’d think she’d still freak out. You are no longer in your body. Now is the time to react, Alyrra! Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis had it right when they reacted like this:
But, alas, nothing. She doesn’t do anything, she doesn’t have any feelings or emotions about the matter. About seeing her body walking around and she’s not in it. And seeing this lack of any real emotions took it too far for me and I couldn’t go on. I literally could not connect with Alyrra on a human level because she was not acting like a real human with emotions and feelings. She was just a passive object.
Oh, also. All of a sudden one of her horses starts talking to her. Which, you know, it’s a fantasy book, so it must happen all the time, right? All the horses and animals must be able to talk. Erm, no. That isn’t the case. The horse starts talking to Alyrra and she just thinks, “Oh, he’s talking” and then never questions it again. Wouldn’t you ask the mysteriously-talking horse how they can talk? But she doesn’t. She just accepts it and moves on. No emotion, no action, no personality.
So, yes, I very much didn’t like this. BUT people on Goodreads really seem to enjoy it, so I could be mistaken. After all, I only read the first 30%.
Now for a complimentary Freaky Friday gif: