Thorn by Intisar Khanani – Book Review

Title: Thorn

Author: Intisar Khanani

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Publication Date: 24th March 2020

Rating: 4/5




Princess Alyrra has always longed to escape the confines of her royal life, but when her mother betroths her to a powerful prince in a distant kingdom, she has little hope for a better future.

Until Alyrra arrives at her new kingdom, where a mysterious sorceress robs her of both her identity and her role as princess–and Alyrra seizes on the opportunity to start a new life for herself as a goose girl.

But as Alyrra uncovers dangerous secrets about her new world, including a threat to the prince himself, she knows she can’t remain silent 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’ve been missing a bit of escapism in my reading lately so I took a little break from tense thrillers and picked up the Young Adult fairytale retelling, Thorn by Intisar Khanani, which takes it’s inspiration from the Brothers Grimm tale ‘The Goose Girl’ involving royalty, magic and betrayal. Thorn follows Princess Alyrra, badly treated by her cruel mother and brother, who is betrothed and sent off to marry a Prince from a more illustrious kingdom. On her journey to wed him she is betrayed by her travelling companion and their places are switched. Alyrra finds a measure of joy and freedom in her new life as a goose girl but her knowledge of all that has happened to her could save the endangered Prince, which complicates matters.

I found Thorn a really fun, enjoyable read. I am a huge fan of fairytales, and particularly the Grimm Brothers collection so I always enjoy seeing those stories interpreted in different ways. I also appreciated that Khanani chose a perhaps less well known tale to reinvent. Alyrra is a main character that is easy to root for. She is humble and unassuming yet still strong in her own way. She is not an overtly obvious heroine but I liked her subtlety and loyal nature. The story has plenty of twists and turns as well as a few rather dark moments which raised the stakes considerably. I haven’t read fantasy in a while so it was nice to take a break from the real (currently very stressful and uncertain) world and dive into a story like Thorn. If you are a fan of YA Fantasy or fairytale retellings then I think you’ll enjoy this one.


I received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is my own honest opinion. 

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