Thorn - Intisar Khanani

I think I came across this writer initially via comments on Twitter and thought it was worth picking up via Kindle - have to say, if I was buying a paperback, I would much prefer the more stylised cover above than the generic 'girl in vaguely medieval-style dress' YA cover. Also, given that Thorn's hair colour is mentioned on a number of occasions, it seems sensible to have a cover where that's actually the case, you know? Not to mention the plot-device cloak that also makes an appearance in this version.

So, onto the book itself. I was pleased by how well-written it was, with a good turn of phrase and some very good characterisation - there were certainly moments in the story played for emotion that hit the right note without becoming mawkish (Violet's funeral stands out for me in this regard).

The problem I had with it is two-fold and both really revolve around the character of Kestrin. While (understandably since it is all told from her POV) we get to see a lot of Thorn's inner workings - to the point of vexation at times, imo - Kestrin still remains a bit of a mystery. Part of that is the pacing of the story overall, with a lot of time given to Thorn's building relationships with various folks in the city, then a sudden rush through the 'testing' of Kestrin which had me looking at the page count a little anxiously to see if it would all fit before the end. To me, ending the story where the author chose to, left a lot of things about Kestrin unresolved - is he the man Thorn clearly thinks he is, what is he going to do (if anything) about the issues of injustice his citizens are living under, and so on.

And then there's the whole 'oh, by the way I was the Wind you were telling all your secrets to while growing up in an abusive household and I've actually been stalking you for years' issue. No, that's not romantic, it's just creepy and intrusive. Not the best basis for a positive adult relationship, to my mind.