For Princess Alyrra, choice is a luxury she’s never had … until she’s betrayed.
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 realize, sometimes the hardest choice means learning to trust herself.
I went into this indie fantasy novel, not quite knowing what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. Intisar Khanani has created an unusual fantasy world full of an intriguing cast of characters. The main character – Thorn is not a conventional fantasy heroine, she is not loud, brash or good with a sword. She instead has a quieter more hidden strength that comes from her resilience in times of hardship and her continuous kindness to all she meets. I found her personality a really refreshing change to what you normally see in YA fantasy becuase she felt more genuine and realistic and someone that I’d like to be friends with.
However Thorn wasn’t the only impressive character, the characters were all really vivid and enjoyable to read about. There were quite a few bad guys, some good guys and some morally ambiguous ones as well. It was interesting that good and bad weren’t always clear cut. Another thing which was good about this novel was the intriguing fantasy aspects that were carefully interwoven and relevant to the plot without being too in your face or overwhelming.
I didn’t know where this book was going until the end, there were so many twists and turns and the plot really keep me on my toes. Sometimes fantasy novels can fall into the trap of being predictable, but this one couldn’t be further than that. However I must confess I wasn’t 100% satisfied with the ending as I really wanted to keep following the characters on their journeys rather than being forced to wrap up nicely. I felt like there was definitely more to say and that the ending was a little rushed.
Overall this book was a truly enjoyable read that is unlike any I’ve ever read. I would definitely recommend this to people that enjoy fantasy with a twist.