Saturday, May 5, 2012
Thorn by Intisar Khanani (Blog Tour)
Thorn is a retelling of the Goose Girl fairytale. You know, the one with the talking horse called Falada? Well, before Thorn, the only other retelling I read was The Goose Girl by Shanon Hale. Well, both of this stories are different, but similar in the sense that they are both excellent reads.
Thorn follows the story of The Goose Girl, but with a few changes. For one, Thorn (although she has another name, I shall just go by what she calls herself for the majority of the novel) has a darker past. She has suffered things like abuse and she wasn't loved much. The prince and the king are definitely scarier and probably have a callous streak in them too. The tone of this tale is also much darker, with the mysterious Lady responsible for Thorn's plight.
Much of the story, on the other hand, remains the same. There is Falada, the talking horse who becomes Thorn's advisor. There is the treacherous lady-in-waiting. There is the stove. Basically, it's easy to recognise the story as a retelling, which allowed me to appreciate the details instead of wondering about the plot.
But after reading the book, I get the sense that it was a good thing for Thorn to go through what she did. While she was always a likable character, she certainly became stronger because of her trials. And of course, if she was always the princess, she wouldn't have found her own place in this new land. I have the feeling that being in court from the beginning would have stifled her.
And despite all she goes through, Thorn has a good heart. I could see this very clearly by the end of the book, when she talks about Justice (one of the heavier themes). She talks about the harshness of justice and regrets not tempering it with mercy. And the event she referred to took place a long time ago, while she was a child. In fact, I didn't see much wrong with how she handled matters then. In fact, I would probably have done the same.
Basically, this book takes the original tale turns it into a rather deep, reflective novel. Thorn explores ideas like that of justice, of social equality, of fitting in and growing up and such others. The reading may get heavy at times, but the book manages to steer away from being a message. It is, at heart, an excellent retelling of the story of the Goose Girl