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.
I LIKED this book. A LOT. It certainly made me eat up my words when I first thought that it was going to be your typical YA book where the princess after meeting the prince, falls in love with him, but struggles with life at court and runs around trying to solve all the issues. It’s really not like this AT ALL. Thorn is a more realistic read. It’s a story that stays true to its characters and shares the good and the bad of kingdoms and magic.
Like how the blurb states, Princess Alyrra gets switched from her body by a sorcerer on her way to meet her betrothed. Her new identity is Lady Valka, a power hungry lady-in-waiting who has had it in for Alyrra for several years now. But instead of feeling sad and desperate, Alyrra looks at it as a new opportunity to live her life outside court and takes up the name of Thoreena (also called Thorn later on).
It’s not that I really support Alyrra for not trying to recover her body and honor her duties as a princess, but I completely understand why she decided to try out the life of a simple servant girl. Alyrra had never been safe anywhere because of who she was. Not even at home because her own brother would constantly abuse her, so why would she be safe at another kingdom, larger and richer than her own? It’s an escape I think I would also take, even though it would mean working HARD to earn my food and shelter. As a result, Alyrra grows much more as a person and learns to truly understand the lives of people she would have never known if she had always lived inside a castle. The people and beings she meets during her time as a goose girl (her job) shape her into a stronger and capable lady worthy of reigning any kingdom.
Now, Thorn is not a book with a lot of action. Nor romance. It’s more about accompanying Alyrra as she slowly learns to trust others and herself. It’s also about taking care of your own and appreciating the sacrifices of your loved ones. It’s been a while since I’ve truly ached and cried inside a book, so it really took me off guard when a beloved character sacrificed himself for Alyrra. It saddened me so much that my tears wouldn’t stop falling. That sacrifice was awful, but the action and the courage of that character was so beautiful. It’s something I will never forget.
Thorn may not have all of the popular elements, but I can surely tell you that this book is worth the read. Read it for its characters, they are beautiful. Also, read for the values it teaches, they do make an impression. I will say it again, Thorn is not your typical YA fantasy book, but who is looking for typical anyway?