Tuesday, December 15, 2020

A Treat for fans of "Thorn" || Book Review: Brambles by Intisar Khanani


Title: Brambles
Series: Dauntless Path #0.5
Author: Intisar Khanani
Publisher: -
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Novella, Short Story
Format: Ebook
Publication Date: December 7th 2020
Pages: 40

Synopsis (Goodreads): In the kingdom of Adania, everyone knows what Princess Alyrra did to earn the court's contempt, her mother's disdain, and her brother's hatred.

She betrayed her own.

Yet, the truth hides another story, one of honor and honesty, of a princess gambling her own life for another's. It's a tale of courage and consequences, and a choice that can never be undone.

A short story prequel to her multi-starred fantasy, Thorn, Intisar Khanani's "Brambles" gives Alyrra's account of what really happened all those years ago, and how a few critical days turned her life into a daily fight for survival.


My rating: 5 / 5 ★

Being a huge fan of Thorn, I was over the moon when Intisar Khanani announced the release of BramblesBrambles is the novella prequel to Thorn, and it gives a brief background to how everything started for Princess Alyrra. When reading Thorn, I've always wondered what she did to Valka (a.k.a the antagonist of Thorn) to be loathed so much by her own brother, and the fact that this did not bother her mother at all made it more questionable.

At the start of Brambles, readers are introduced to the young Princess Alyrra. She tries her best to be sweet and proper in front of everyone, especially her brother. Despite being treated harshly by the brother and Valka, and constantly used as an excuse for them to misbehave—the word misbehave are actually mild, compared to what the brother and Valka actually did—yet Alyrra took it all in without much protest. Even the nobles took so little attention to her, considering her as an unimportant person of the royalty. As long as they stayed out of her way and didn't ask for her much, Alyrra was content with her life.

But a certain event caused by Valka's vileness put Alyrra on a tight spot, and she knew she couldn't stay silent any longer. Not after what she knew Valka had caused, and meant to cause. The silent and meek princess finally stood her ground and demanded for the right person to be punished, and despite being right about it, the royalty and nobles considered what she did to be "betraying" her own. I respect Alyrra's mother for being able to keep the throne after the King died because we all know how men always believed that women cannot rule, but the fact that she defended her "allies" instead of trying to understand what her daughter did just didn't sit right with me. I would've expected after what she went through, fighting the men and nobles, it would make her want to protect her daughter more, but apparently she simply prioritised the prince (as her next heir) and politics after all.

It broke my heart to see how Alyrra was treated worse than before, but somehow I'm glad that she did what she did. It actually showed that despite appearing to be submissive, Alyrra has a large potential to rule and command her people fairly. Despite looking meek, her capacity of tolerance against the treatment she received proved that her strength is no match to anyone that wishes harm to her. She also always find something positive to be grateful in every situation, and for that, I love her character so much.

Through Brambles, readers also finally found out how Alyrra first met her dear friend, the wind. This might sound weird if you haven't read Thorn, but trust me, the wind is the best of a friend you can get, and I'm grateful that Alyrra was able to connect with the wind. The wind saved Alyrra in Brambles, and it made its character more significant in Thorn.

I can't wait to reread Thorn soon!

Overall, Brambles is definitely a bittersweet treat for fans of Thorn. You need not to read Thorn first to be able to read Brambles because this novella is good enough on its own, but it would be more meaningful if you read Thorn first. 

A huge thanks to Intisar Khanani for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. Brambles is now available in ebook and audiobook, and you can purchase it here.


I'd rather be sweet and useless than sharp and dangerous.

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

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