Thorn – A Fairy Tale Re-telling

July 15, 2013 Fiction, Re-telling 7

14059999Title: Thorn
Author: Intisar Khanani
Source: from author for review
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: This book was darker and more violent than I expected from the pretty cover, but I was pleasantly surprised when the main character turned out to be a strong heroine you could really root for.

As I mentioned in my previous review of a Goose Girl retelling, the basic gist of both this book and the original fairy tale is as follows. A princess is sent to marry a prince in a foreign land and on the journey, her maid uses some form of magic to take on the princess’s identity. Once they reach the foreign capital, the princess becomes a goose girl and must decide if and how she wants to regain her place as a princess.

Like the previous re-telling, this princess was very unassuming and not so sure she minded being a goose girl. Unlike the previous re-telling however, I felt she had a very good reason for being nervous and mistrusting the prince, so her inaction was less frustrating. Later in the book she does manage to stand up and make a difference when it matters. And at the end, she is required to be incredibly brave, enduring violent trials to save the prince. She made for a very impressive heroine!

In general this heroine faces far darker and more violent situations than were to be found in the other re-telling. I didn’t love that this lost the “fairy tale feel” of the other, but I suspect it would be right at home in an original brothers Grimm collection. I did love that the author added some ethical dilemmas and a villain with a lot more depth. As with the other re-telling, the author did an incredible job meshing original plot with the world and magic system she created. This world was a slightly more grown-up version than the other, but I also enjoyed it and would highly recommend it to people who like character growth and/or fairy tale re-tellings.

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7 Responses to “Thorn – A Fairy Tale Re-telling”

  1. Intisar Khanani

    Hi Katie – Thanks so much for your review! I definitely drew from the original Grimms’ fairy tale “feel” in terms of the darkness in the story, as well as the presence of different types of violence–one reason why this is definitely a tale for a more mature YA audience.

    I’ve also been considering a cover redesign, and I think you just convinced me to go for it. Thanks! 🙂

  2. Christina

    There’s a Goose Girl from the Grimms? I didn’t know that.

    “Later in the book she does manage to stand up and make a difference when it matters. And at the end, she is required to be incredibly brave, enduring violent trials to save the prince. She made for a very impressive heroine!”
    Excellent! Nothing like character growth to draw me in, and heroines to root for :).

    “I did love that the author added some ethical dilemmas and a villain with a lot more depth. As with the other re-telling, the author did an incredible job meshing original plot with the world and magic system she created. This world was a slightly more grown-up version than the other, but I also enjoyed it and would highly recommend it to people who like character growth and/or fairy tale re-tellings.”
    Well, you’ve got me sold :). I did always hate how one-dimensional villains seemed in fairy tale re-tellings. It sounds like that’s not the case here, and the world building, character growth, and plot truly excel. Interesting to see that the cover is about to get changed too :O.

    • DoingDewey

      Character growth is one of my favorite things in a book too 🙂 The Grimms version is actually online here and you can see that it’s a little bit on the dark side compared to a modernt fairy tale. Dark books aren’t always my favorite, but this one wasn’t too dark and I really liked that it fit so well with the feel of Grimm fairy tales. If you end up giving it a try, I look forward to seeing what you think 🙂

  3. Tamara Epps

    I love fairytale retellings and from your review this sounds like a great one so have added it to my Goodreads and will hopefully get a chance to read it soon.

    • DoingDewey

      Wonderful! I really liked it and would definitely put it on my list of books I think deserve more recognition 🙂