March 30, 2020

Thorn Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Author: Intisar Khanani 
Genre: YA Fantasy/Retellings/Romance/Fairy Tales
Release Date: March 24, 2020
Publisher: Hot Key Books
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A princess with two futures. A destiny all her own

Between her cruel family and the contempt she faces at court, Princess Alyrra has always longed to escape the confines of her royal life. But when she’s betrothed to the powerful prince Kestrin, Alyrra embarks on a journey to his land with little hope for a better future.

When a mysterious and terrifying sorceress robs Alyrra of both her identity and her role as princess, Alyrra seizes the opportunity to start a new life for herself as a goose girl.

But Alyrra soon finds that Kestrin is not what she expected. The more Alyrra learns of this new kingdom, the pain and suffering its people endure, as well as the danger facing Kestrin from the sorceress herself, the more she knows she can’t remain the goose girl forever.

With the fate of the kingdom at stake, Alyrra is caught between two worlds and ultimately must decide who she is, and what she stands for.
I ended up liking Thorn a lot more than I had anticipated, which was a welcome surprise. I really like fairy tales and fantasy, so I figured that I would enjoy this book. I wasn't quite sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised to find myself lost inside this story right from the beginning. The author does a fantastic job of bringing Alyrra's world to life with lots of detailed descriptions and vivid imagery. I could easily picture everything in my mind and slipped easily into Alyrra's world within the first couple pages. 

The plot wasn't wholly original - most fairy tales aren't - but the author put her own unique twist on the story to make it feel fresh. I loved learning about everything and everyone throughout the book - from the various kingdoms and their histories, politics, court intrigue to the characters themselves with their own backstories and personalities. The author did a great job of filling out each element of the story to make it feel like a completely realistic world and story. The writing was well done and I ended up reading the entire book in one sitting because I lost track of time. The characters were all well rounded and complex, especially Alyrra, and I loved getting to know them. Alyrra is a perfect main character for the story. She's incredibly realistic with both positive personality traits and flaws. I easily connected with her right from the beginning of the book and found myself really rooting for her during the whole story. I really liked watching her grow, change and mature throughout the novel. I also really liked getting to know the other major characters - especially Kestrin - and to see their relationships with Alyrra and others change and grow during the course of the story. I don't normally like a lot of romance when it's mixed in with another genre, like fantasy, because it almost always overshadows the main plot. I didn't feel that way with this book though - probably because the romantic aspect of Alyrra and Kestrin is a major focal point of the story itself. 

Lastly, I want to mention the author's writing style. This is a huge deal for me personally as a reader and can make or break a book for me. The author wrote this book in the first person point of view from Alyrra's perspective - which I absolutely loved. I almost always prefer the first person POV because it allows a deeper and more personal connection between the reader and the narrator. That was definitely the case with this book. We get an inside look at all of Alyrra's inner thoughts, her hopes and dreams, fears, insecurities, memories, and everything in between. This writing style lets me really bond with the narrator and allows me to slip inside the world the author created. I'm so happy that the author wrote the book in this style. Overall, I ended up really liking this book - more than I originally thought I would. I'm excited that it's the start of a series and I can't wait to see where the author and the story will take us next. I definitely recommend this novel for fans of YA, fantasy, fairy tales, retellings, and romance.
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. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters. 

Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health 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 debut novel, Thorn, was picked up by HarperTeen and will be re-released in Winter 2020. In the meantime, she’s hard at work on the remaining books of The Sunbolt Chronicles.

On March 24th Thorn will be releasing from Hot Key (UK) and HarperTeen (US/CA)! To celebrate, I’m offering some amazing Thorn goodies to everyone who...
  • pre-orders/orders a copy of Thorn before March 31st at 23:59.
  • OR requests it from their library (library hold / suggested purchase) before March 31st at 23:59.
Here’s what’s up for grabs:

Physical goodies (US/UK): 
  • A Thorn Bookmark
  • A set of Chibi Stickers featuring Thorn characters
  • A Signed Bookplate
PLUS Digital goodies (worldwide):
  • A PDF of Brambles –a Thorn prequel short story so you can jump into Alyrra’s world now!
  • A PDF of The (Annotated) Goose Girl –the original fairytale with annotations from yours truly in the margin
  • A coloring page of three Thorn-themed bookmarks
All you need to do to enter is send a proof of purchase (or screenshot of your library hold), your name and address to T&Cs apply!
UK entrants: Hot Key Books rocks and can mail you physical goodies as well as the digital. Check it out here:
Non-US/UK entrants: I really, really wanted to offer you the physical goodies, but postage is a bear. If you would like to cover the cost of an international stamp ($1.20), I can absolutely mail you the goodies as well. E-mail in your proof/screenshot for your digital goodies, and I’ll link you up so you can do that.
The universal book link for purchasing Thorn is 
1st Prize: Win a book of your choice from Book Depository (INT*)
2nd Prize: Win a THORN swag pack (stickers, bookmark, and a signed bookplate) - INT

Starts: March 24, 2020
Ends: April 7, 2020

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for this wonderful review - I'm so thrilled you found yourself enjoying Alyrra's story even more than expected! And thank you as well for helping to celebrate Thorn's release. :)