Thorn: Dauntless Path 1

A magical retelling of The Goose Girl.

READ IF YOU…

  • Enjoy creative fiction
  • Like fantastical retellings
  • Want a well-written read

TitleThorn: Dauntless Path 1 | Author: Intisar KhananiRating: 3.5/5

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. 

A retelling of The Goose Girl, Thorn follows a smart, but downtrodden Princess Alyrra as she is betrothed to a mage prince. But Alyrra wants to live her own life, and if tired of being afraid and used as a tool by others for their own gain. So when she is betrayed by a girl she grew up with and their bodies are switched, Princess Alyrra decides to take the opportunity: she becomes “goose girl,” taking care of the palace geese, and eventually, of their horses. The other girl takes the princess’ form and plays her role as betrothed, while Alyrra plays palace servant, making friends with servants and the animals.

But her life still isn’t her own, as magical forces conspire against her, the prince she should have been betrothed to, and the king she is now living under. When the prince is stolen away by a fae mage, and his life is at stake, Alyrra tries all she can to save him.

The book is well-written, and I expected as much with the hype. It’s especially impressive since Thorn was originally self-published until it was picked up by HarperTeen. The story is wonderful, and even if you don’t know the original The Goose Girl story (I didn’t), you won’t be lost.

The characters do seem simple, almost cookie-cutter, but it’s not necessarily bad. You have the kind princess who’s used as a tool and betrothed to a kind and magical prince with his own secrets to hide. You have the typical ill-will court women who try to undermine the princess, the cruel family to the princess who see her only as a tool for their own gain. All in all, none of the characters were original or unusual, especially the fae, but it didn’t detract from the story.

Thorn does have a fairy tale feel, not quite atmospheric, but certainly draws you in with the magic. All in all, a solid read.

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