(I was given this book for free on a read-to-review basis as part of the `Thorn' Blog tour.)
I have to start this review by saying that this book really surprised me, mostly because the blurb is actually a terrible description of this book, and the actual story is totally different to what you expect having read the blurb!
Alyrra is a 15-year-old princess. Her father is dead, her mother is unkind to her, and her brother basically tortures her for fun.
One day a king visits, and Alyrra is told that he has come to seek her hand in marriage to his son. Her mother thinks that the king is a good ally, and so Alyrra accepts the proposal when it is put to her, as that is what her mother tells her to do.
Alyrra sets off on her way to her betrothed's kingdom, taking with her a maid and a girl called Valka. Valka is the daughter of a member of her mother's court, but she is in disgrace so they basically send her off with Alyrra to get rid of her.
Half-way along their journey, Alyrra goes off to wash at a stream and Valka follows her. Once by the water a woman appears who Alyrra recognises as a sorceress. The woman casts a spell, and suddenly Alyrra is Valka, and Valka is Alyrra. Valka now feels that she has got her due - she is now princess, while she sends Alyrra off to work as a goose girl once they make it to their new home.
While Valka feels that she has beaten Alyrra, Alyrra is secretly pleased by the swap; now she can do with her life as she pleases, rather than being forced to be a princess and to be a member of the court. The only problem is that the prince, who Alyrra was to marry, seems to realise that something is wrong with Valka and Alyrra, and pays more attention to the real Alyrra than she would like.
Now that she is starting a new life, Alyrra changes her name from Valka to Thoreena, which is shortened to Thorn. Thorn makes a life for herself in the stables and small town, while Valka as the princess is disliked.
The sorceress has not finished her trouble making though, and her next target is Kestrin (the prince). Can Thorn stand by while the sorceress kills Kestrin, or will she find a way to solve this whole mess, and save herself in the process?
As I said I was really surprised by this book, the blurb mentions nothing about the whole body-swap thing, which is one of the main parts of the storyline! I was quite shocked when this happened as I obviously wasn't expecting it!
Thorn/Alyrra was a very quiet girl, but had strongly held beliefs. Her mother said that her strength was her silence, which showed how little her mother really knew her, as Thorn was actually the one to speak out when she saw injustices being done, and even labelled herself as `too honest'. I really liked Thorn for exactly that reason, she just couldn't sit by while bad things were happening, she took it upon herself to try and right wrongs no matter what the consequences to herself.
I thought that Thorn's reaction to her body swap experience was a bit of an odd one, but it did actually fit with her character - she's rarely complained about anything unless it was to aid someone else. I'm sure most of us would have thrown an absolute fit if a similar thing happened to us, but she just took it in her stride, and actually seemed to only see the advantages to swap!
Thorn's life was not easy by a long shot, and there were several points in this book where the things that happened to her were just so awful that I cried. Throughout it all though she stayed strong and did her best and always looked out for others.
As surprised as I was by this book, I was also surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Thorn was just such a loveable character, and the storyline was full of twists and turns that I didn't see coming. From the very beginning, Thorn captured my attention and held it, and I couldn't help but love this book.
9 out of 10.
(Book length: 4116 kindle locations)