Heart of Thorns (Heart of Thorns #1) by Bree Barton
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Inventive and heart-racing, this fiercely feminist teen fantasy trilogy from debut author Bree Barton examines a dark kingdom in which only women can possess magic—and every woman is suspected of having it.
Mia Rose wants only one thing: revenge against the Gwyrach—feared, reviled, and magical women—who killed her mother. After years training under her father’s infamous Hunters, Mia is ready. She will scour the four kingdoms, find her mother’s murderer, and enact the Hunters’ Creed: heart for a heart, life for a life.
But when Mia is thrust into the last role she ever wanted—promised wife to the future king—she plots a daring escape. On her wedding night, Mia discovers something she never imagined: She may be a Huntress, but she’s also a Gwyrach. As the truth comes to light, Mia must untangle the secrets of her own past. Now if she wants to survive, Mia must learn to trust her heart . . . even if it kills her.
Firstly, I want to thank Fantastic Flying Book Club for yet another amazing opportunity, check out their blog tours as they are a great team! And thank you to Katherine Tegen Books for sending me this e-ARC via Edelweiss!
Trigger warnings : attempted sexual assault
Heart of Thorns was one of my most anticipated novels of this year, especially ever since I’ve heard of its feminist themes and the subject overall sounded intriguing. But the book fell flat, in my opinion, it might be due to my high expectations or because the boko wasn’t exactly what I thought it will be.
My main problem with this one was its slow pace, I’m quite an impatient reader and when I first got into the book, I thought it would be very action-packed and fast paced, but it wasn’t quite like that. It dragged on some places and it took me a while to actually get into the book and become interested in what’s going to happen next. Because it was so slow at first, the book made me feel like everything happened in the last 50 pages or so and it was a bit hard to follow as everything unraveled.
What also bothered me was how highly detailed the world building was in the detriment of the characters’ development. I usually love a complex world building, but here it felt like I didn’t get to know those characters intimately because of so many descriptions that the book might have done without.
However, the book had its great aspects that are important to be taken into account. I loved its mythology, it was original and I loved seeing a magic system where women are the only wielders of magic and where magic was caused by oppression. It was a very interesting take on misogyny and its effects.
Mia was also a great character, that I could relate to, I adored her rational and bookish side, even when the narrative was pushing her to give up on it and learn to listen to her emotional side. I thought it was interesting to watch her progress and especially the way she interacted with all her family members, how she gradually learnt things about her family and herself. I think her journey of self-discovery was what saved this book for me.
The prince was super soft and I really liked him, but again I felt that we didn’t get to know him as intimately as I would have liked. This happened with lots of characters : Mia’s parents, Angie, Dom, there are so many plotlines and characters that can be explored in the next book, I’m very interested in it. Now that the world building is out of the way because it’s been explained thoroughly, I hope the sequel will focus on the relationships between the characters and on their characterizations.
The plot was interesting overall and while there were lots of tropes used in this one, there are also many original aspects that I enjoyed reading about.
There is bisexual rep and gay rep (side character) in this book, I would say that the book has a positive outlook on diversity.
I’m sure the characters will develop more as this series progresses, they might grow into adored characters for me because I will most probably read the second book of the series. Even though it had its issues, it looks like a promising start to an interesting series. I’m looking forward to seeing how some things that started in this book get resolved or evolve in the sequel.
- “Still obsessed with the knowing. Still treating love as a text to be analyzed. You treat books as human and humans as books.”
- “Logic is insufficient. Love will always expose its flaws. It is good to have a mind, but it is better to have a heart.”
- “You’re just like me. I fought it too. For years I fought my feelings. They are frightening, treacherous things. But they are the only things. In the end, love is all that matters. Fidacteu zeu biqhotz limarya eu naj. Trust your heart, even if it kills you.”
- “Tears were mercurial and untrustworthy. Feelings of any kind made a person vulnerable, weak.”
- “Our sisterhood has always been under threat. For the entirety of human history, weak men have been afraid of powerful women.”
About the author
Bree Barton is a writer in Los Angeles. When she’s not lost in whimsy, she works as a ghostwriter and dance teacher to teen girls. She is on Instagram and YouTube as Speak Breely, where she posts funny videos of her melancholy dog.
- Prize: 1 hardcover copy of HEART OF THORNS by Bree Barton
- US Only
- Starts: 7/24
- Ends: 8/7
- Link here.
Have you read this book? What were your thoughts on it?
If you haven’t read it yet, are you excited about it?