Thorn - Intisar Khanani

Thorn is the debut novel from fantasy writer Intisar Khanani, based on the fairy tale of the Goose Girl. It's listed various places as YA, but I don't think I'd peg it as such. Certainly, it could be enjoyed by younger readers, but it has themes and complexities suitable for adults.


Khanani takes what is often a simple fairy tale and makes it into a three-dimensional novel. Princess Alyrra has mixed feelings when she is betrothed to the prince of a neighboring kingdom. Her marriage will provide an escape from her family, but she has learned that those closest to her are not necessarily trustworthy. When she is betrayed during her journey, she must choose between embracing the freedom and anonymity of a life she has made for herself, or taking up the mantle of the Princess once again with all it's emotional and physical dangers and responsibilities. Thorn's voice is distinct: formal, almost distant or detached, which is appropriate for telling her story. I'm looking forward to reading more books from Khanani.


What Went Well:

  • Thorn's voice.
  • Good pacing.
  • Beautiful cover!


Even Better If:

  • Horse was more completely developed/integrated into the story. There are a few dangling plot threads, scenes that don't pay off, and his voice is much more modern than Thorn's.
  • Plot threads of several secondary characters were resolved.
  • Better developed magical system.