*I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Title: Heart of Thorns
Author: Bree Barton
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
In the ancient river kingdom, touch is a battlefield, bodies the instruments of war. Seventeen-year-old Mia Rose has pledged her life to hunting Gwyrach: women who can manipulate flesh, bones, breath, and blood.
Not women. Demons. The same demons who killed her mother without a single scratch.
But when Mia’s father suddenly announces her marriage to the prince, she is forced to trade in her knives and trousers for a sumptuous silk gown. Only after the wedding goes disastrously wrong does she discover she has dark, forbidden magic—the very magic she has sworn to destroy.
Review: If I had to compare this book to anything, I’d say it was Children of Blood and Bone meets Grace and Fury. It’s about the suppression of magic and the suppression of women. While the ending was insane and filled with jaw-dropping twists, the beginning was slow and difficult to get into.
Mia is a very scientifically inclined person, so there was a lot of anatomical terminology used. I really don’t need to know how great someone’s zygomatic bones are. Why can’t we just stick with cheeks? So yes, it was definitely a rough start because of the writing style and the lack of action and pacing. Once I got about halfway through, though, everything just kind of exploded and the plot and suspense drove me forward.
The story starts with Mia Rose, who has pledged her life as a Huntress to find the Gwyrach who killed her mother. That is, until she is forced to give it up when her father forces her to marry the Prince. Mia has never been fond of dresses and much prefers getting her hands dirty. She must give up her freedom to please the men around her, and so she plans her escape, which is the only way to find her mother’s killer. Only, she doesn’t want to leave her fragile sister Angie behind.
Attacked on her wedding day, Mia Rose discovers her own forbidden magic. She ends up on the run with only the Prince and her mother’s magic journal leading the way. I loved the world-building when they go on their journey because everything was described so vividly. It was amazing to try to picture the details of their forest surroundings and their eventual destination.
I actually loved Quin’s character. He’s doesn’t actually want anything to do with ruling and would rather have his nose stuck in a book. Mia learns that there is a huge difference between him and his tyrant father, who would have had her killed on sight. There ends up being a slow burn romance between them throughout the book as well.
Mia was an interesting character. She goes through a lot in this book, between hating magic to having magic. It’s hard for her to trust her magic when she’s the girl who things with her head. Also, she can’t trust her feelings because she doesn’t know if she’s accidentally using magic or not. It’s basically a constant war with her, and I’m not sure how much growth she actually goes through beyond seeing magic a different way.
One thing I was seriously impressed with in this book was how deep betrayal went. This book, had inception level plot twists. My poor brain almost couldn’t handle all the layers being pulled back at the end to see which person was the real villain. And trust me, there were so many people who could be considered the villain in this book, and it honestly caught me by surprise. Like we’re talking ultimate puppet master. Also, major cliffhanger at the end and I just want to know what happens?! Is there a sequel?!
If you love books with revenge, betrayal, manipulation, murder, magic, adventure, romance, and twists, then Heart of Thorns is the book for you.
Sidenote: It was a sweet kind of irony that Quin’s dogs were named Beo and Wulf and they were hunting “monsters”.
Content Warning: sexual assault and self-harm