THORN by Intisar Khanani

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 realise, sometime the hardest choice means learning to trust herself.

Inspired by The Goose Girl fairytale by the Brothers Grimm.


Title : Thorn
Author : Intisar Khanani
Format : Paperback ARC
Page Count :
Genre : YA Fantasy
Publisher : Hot Key Books
Release Date : March 24, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4-4.5 star review

THORN by Intisar Khanani has actually been on my radar for a number of years, previously released as an indie book but has now very rightfully found publishers in the UK and US. I’m really glad I waited as this is Thorn’s moment and just look at that gorgeous cover.

This is a loose retelling of the Brother Grimm’s goose girl, which I didn’t recall but being a lesser-known tale, the storyline was all good and unexpected things. It is a story construted around royalty and magic but it very much moves into the world of the ordinary and I loved that element of the context so much. Thorn had a number of identities but essentially who she was at the core was the kind of quiet heroine you could only feel connected to. Her integrity made me love her; she felt very real in her plain life and royal connections.

Thorn’s family were vile, no beating around the bush here. Thorn was scarred in a number of ways; this particular narrative was addressed sensitively. I liked how she worked through some issues as she adapted to life outside of her family. Thorn also acquired some unconventional friendships with a horse, the wind, thieves and street kids. This tale was just full of richness.

Kestrin, was a prince amongst other things and he grew on me. The story travelled from one world to another and magic forces were at work on the way. This wasn’t an all-consuming romance but a tentative friendship and the potential promise of something more with roots. I appreciated the subtlety of the relationship between these two and I would love to read more in what seems to be a series.

Intisar Khanani’s writing was inviting and her ability to tell a story was full of richness and depth. This is a great YA fantasy that could standalone as it is but it also looks like there is more to come and I am cheering for that.

Thank you to Hot Key books for the early review copy.

A THRONE OF SWANS by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr

In a world where the flightless are ruled by those who can fly…

When her father dies just before her birthday, seventeen-year-old Aderyn inherits the role of Protector of Atratys, a dominion in a kingdom where nobles are able to transform at will into the bird that represents their family bloodline. Aderyn’s ancestral bird is a swan. But she has not transformed for years, not since witnessing the death of her mother – ripped apart by hawks that have supposedly been extinct since the long-ago War of the Raptors. 

With the benevolent shelter of her mother and her father now lost, Aderyn is at the mercy of her brutal uncle, the King, and his royal court. Driven by revenge and love, she must venture into the malevolent heart of the Citadel in order to seek the truth about the attack that so nearly destroyed her, to fight for the only home she has ever known and for the land she has vowed to protect.

Written in rich detail and evocative language, this is the start of an irresistible, soaring duology about courage, broken loyalties and fighting for your place in the world.


Title : A Throne of Swans
Author : Katharine & Elizabeth Corr
Series : A Throne of Swans #1
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 352
Genre : YA Fantasy
Publisher : Hot Key Books
Release Date : January 9, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 4.5 star review

I think this will be the final completed read of 2019 for me and the year couldn’t have finished in a better way. What more can a bookworm ask for than a book that you cannot put down and that you think of when you aren’t reading it? A THRONE OF SWANS was all of this and with the most delicious cover too.

This book had the sense of a traditional fairytale but with more identifiable traits in the characters. So, while it had a historical feel, the behaviours and actions had more of a fantastical-contemporary feel, if this doesn’t make sense, just give it a go. The world was unusual and brought a freshness with it, this was a world built on humans that shift into different birds. Aderyn, the protagonist and Protector of her lands, was of swan heritage but she was unable to shift, putting her life at risk.

This world had defined classes, those who could fly and the flightless; the nobles and servants. Some areas in the kingdom were more cruel to the flightless than others. Aderyn was new to her position as Protector and so she had her advisor Lucien and others who tried to influence her, Aron, Seigfried the King. I had no more idea than Aderyn whom she should trust. The world was interesting, the world-building was easy to grasp as it unfurled and the whole context conjured an enticing atmosphere.

There were elements that were unpredictable and some that were predictable but none of that interfered with the enjoyment of the narrative. There was a gentle complexity to the budding relationships in this book with interweaving of characters and crossing-over of affections. All this was secondary to the strong leading story direction which I loved.

The writing was easy to fall into and as I said, the book itself demanded to be read at all times. I cannot believe that I will have to wait a year for the next book to come out, there isn’t a desperate cliff just a desire on my behalf to read on with these characters. This was my first book by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr and I really enjoyed their style and creativity.

Thank you to Hot Key Books and Darkroom Tours for the early finished copy.