Thorn: Book Review & Giveaway

This is a book review tour of Thorn, a YA fantasy novel by new author Intisar Khanani. Read on to know more about the book and the giveaways!

About the Book

Princess Alyrra’s strength lies in silence. Scorned by her family, she avoids the court, spending her time with servants. When her marriage is unexpectedly arranged with the prince of a powerful neighboring kingdom, Alyrra feels trapped. As the court celebrates her match, dark rumors spread about the unexplained deaths of the women of her new family. Alyrra begins her journey with mounting trepidation. Betrayed while traveling, she seizes an opportunity to start a life away from court.

Walking away from a prince whom she doesn’t know should have been easy. But from the moment she sets eyes on him, Alyrra realizes that her freedom could cost him his life. Without any magical defense of her own, she is plunged into a lethal game of sorcery and deceit. Now Alyrra must decide whom she can trust and what she’s willing to fight for—before her silence proves fatal.

Thorn is FREE on Amazon for the whole week of this tour! Get it now! :)

I have to say I was first drawn to this book because I was curious about the author, and there are so many fantasy books coming out these days that I didn’t know what to expect. I am always interested to know though about the different fantasy worlds and stories that authors come up with, so I was pretty open to reading it.

I went into this book without any real expectations and it totally took me by surprise. I read through Thorn quickly. I don’t know if I was just in the right mood or if I simply chose the right moment to start reading, but I could not put the book down. I liked the simple yet descriptive writing. I also liked the development of the characters, especially the main character Alyrra. I think the author did very well with this quietly strong and admirable female character and I think that was what made the book a great read for me. The elements of the story were not new and there were some moments when I wanted the pace to pick up, but for me the smooth flow of the writing and the careful attention to the character made this debut novel a pretty enjoyable read. I find myself looking forward to Intisar’s succeeding books.

I received a review copy of this book with no obligations. All opinions and views expressed here are my own.


Intisar will award an autographed bookmark at every stop, and a $15 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Earn extra entries by following her on Facebook. Check out the rest of the tour stops HERE for more chances of winning.

Author Bio

Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and traveler. Born in Wisconsin, she has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. She first remembers seeing snow on a wintry street in Zurich, Switzerland, and vaguely recollects having breakfast with the orangutans at the Singapore Zoo when she was five. She now resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and young daughter. Intisar writes grants and develops projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which is as close as she can get to saving the world. Her approach to writing fantasy reflects her lifelong passion for stories from different cultures. She is currently writing a trilogy set in the same world as Thorn. This is her first novel. Connect with the author on her website, on GoodReads, Facebook, and Smashwords.

Read an excerpt

I reach to scoop up more water from the river and then pause, staring. There is something odd about my reflection but I cannot make out what, for the water does not run smoothly but in ripples and eddies. I dip my fingers in, breaking the image. But it does not break.

A hand reaches up and closes around my wrist. I choke on a cry of terror, jerking away, but it pulls down—hard—and I lose my footing on the muddy bank, falling headfirst into the rushing waters. The world is strange, blunted, beneath water. I twist, striking out, but cannot quite find my attacker. The hand still holds my wrist in an iron grip. I kick, desperately trying to tear myself away, push my way to the surface. The air burns in my lungs, spots dancing before my eyes. Something touches my throat—a knife? I flail away from it, feel a slicing pain, and abruptly I am released. I find myself on my hands and knees, coughing up water, gentle waves lapping around my chest.

I look up in terror, my hair sending an arc of droplets flying over the quiet waters. The river runs clear. But the birds are silent.

20 thoughts on “Thorn: Book Review & Giveaway”

  1. Damn I missed the promotion it seems, still I like the theme of this one.Forced bondings, matings and marriages are my guilty pleasure in fantasy and paranormal books. :)


  2. I liked the idea of a strong female lead as without her being superwomen, which does sometime happen in fantasy novels as well.


  3. It’s so good to see a strong female character in fantasy–it can be such a bastion of machismo all the time!


  4. I was going to get the book for free on Amazon today after reading the excerpt, but it’s not free on Amazon today. Maybe I missed the freebie? I’m a librarian at a community college and we have a YA section that’s a few years old. I’m often looking for new YA authors who will appeal to our adult high school students and other “reluctant readers.”

    Intisar…It sounds as if you’ve been fortunate to travel quite a bit. I have lived in seven states but have done very little traveling to foreign countries. I’d love to go to Singapore and Switzerland and see the Red Sea.
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

    • Hi Catherine –

      I’m so sorry – the free promotion ended on June 27th. However, I have discounted Thorn because it turns out that my international readers weren’t able to access the free download. It’s only 99 cents right now. I think Thorn has a strong potential to appeal to both YA and adult women, and hope you’ll get a chance to take a look at it.

      If you are unable to purchase Thorn, please drop me a line (my e-mail is intisar[AT]thornthenovel[dot]com). I’d be happy to chat with you about how to make Thorn available at your community college.


  5. Hi Leah –

    Thanks so much for featuring Thorn on your blog, and for your review! Thorn was a lot of fun to write, though it took me a long time to work out the pacing–precisely because Alyrra is quietly strong and not a warrior type. In many ways, this story is about her growing into her strength of character (while saving the day in a way that has everything to do with who she is and not her ability to fight or throw balls of fire).

    I did struggle a lot of with the elements of the story. Thorn is loosely based on the fairy tale, “The Goose Girl,” so there were fairy tale elements that had to be part of the story by definition. Making it into its own original story beyond those elements was quite the challenge. I’m so glad you found the story engaging!

    Thanks again for your review.


  6. A great excerpt, it makes one even more curious about the book! Fantastic work on creating an atmosphere of suspence, very promising indeed.

    I love discovering promising new authors, which is not easy since with e-publishing there are a lot more of them and it’s hard to wade through all this new books.


  7. Oooooh! Isn’t it wonderful to stumble across a new author that takes u by suprise?! A good choice of excerpt Leah- it demonstrates your point about the writers descriptive writing. Very interesting… :-)


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