book reviews by Althea

Thorn – Intisar Khanani ****

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A beautifully-done retelling of ‘The Goose Girl.’

As in the original Grimm brothers’ fairy tale, a princess, on her way to meet her betrothed, is betrayed by her maid, who uses magic to force the two to change places. ‘Thorn’ adds an extra element of magic in that the women don’t just exchange clothes; but actually switch bodies.

Prevented by a curse of speaking of what has been done to her, the princess Alyrra must make the best of her new situation and adjust to living a life of privation and hard labor – like so many of the kingdoms’ subjects take for granted. Luckily, she is an adaptable and resourceful individual – and has the advice of a wise horse to help her through.

However, the story does not shirk from the cruel and tragic elements of the original tale, and Alyrra’s troubles are not at an end, even when she resigns herself to her fate and makes the best of it. Not to mention – does she have a responsibility to the kingdom to make sure that her cruel former maid, now drunk on her new status, does not get the opportunity to keep on deceiving the Prince and grabbing for power?

Fans of this book may also wish to take a look at another take on the story, Shannon Hale’s ‘The Goose Girl.’


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