Book Review · Books

Brambles (Dauntless Path #0.5) by Intisar Khanani [BOOK REVIEW]

Brambles (Dauntless Path #0.5) by Intisar Khanani [BOOK REVIEW]

I am so glad that the author, Intisar Khanani, sent me an ARC e-copy of Brambles. Brambles is a prequel to Thorn, and is a part of the Dauntless Path series. I absolutely adored Thorn, and you can read my review of it HERE. When I heard there is a prequel, I was immediately sold!

About The Book:

Brambles (Dauntless Path #0.5) by Intisar Khanani [BOOK REVIEW]

Publisher: Harper Teen

Pages: 40

Format I read it in: Uncorrected Proof – ebook

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US


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 Thoughts:

In Brambles, we get to meet princess Alyrra before she is betrothed. We also meet her family and Valka as well. As short as this book was, it was filled with a lot of emotion, as well as a good moral story of doing what is right. Valka enjoyed messing up with the servants and ruining their lives, and when Alyrra stood up to her, it was at this point that everything changed.

Alyrra did what was right, but it was interesting to see her brother and her mother’s reactions. Clearly, their reputation was much more important to them than integrity. It is also in Brambles that we witness Alyrra’s brother and how cruel he can be. And most importantly, it is here we witness her first connection with the wind.

If you have already read Thorn, Brambles will be such a delight for you. It has Easter eggs hidden in it, and it also shows us a different side to the characters in more depth than we get to know them in Thorn. It is also lovely to see Alyrra’s life before she needs to move to the city, and how she behaves when nobody is watching.

But at the same time – if this is the first book you decide to pick up from this series, it is a perfect introduction to the story that’s about to follow. You’ll get to meet Alyrra and find out more about the circumstances she lives in. Intisar Khanani beautifully created a loop of content, that no matter which book you choose to read first, it will be a delight nevertheless.

I still find it amusing how the author managed to create such a compelling and intriguing prequel in only 40 pages.



About The Author:

Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. Born in Wisconsin, she has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters. Prior to publishing her novels, Intisar worked as a public health consultant on projects relating to infant mortality and minority health, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy.

Intisar is the author of the Dauntless Path books (Thorn, The Theft of Sunlight), and her indie epic fantasy series, The Sunbolt Chronicles.

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Book Review · Books

Thorn (Dauntless Path #1) by Intisar Khanani [BOOK REVIEW]

Thorn by Intisar Khanani Dauntless Path ReadersFirst HotKeyBooks books book review books blog blogging diary of difference diaryofdifference

Thorn by Intisar Khanani is such a powerful story about finding your true self, fighting against the injustice and loving with your whole heart. 


Princess Alyrra grew up in a cruel family, fearing that her brother might hurt her every day. She despises the fact that she needs to behave in a certain way to appeal to the court. Her despise grows even more when she learns that she’s been betrothed to the powerful Prince Kestrin, a stranger from another kingdom.

But when a sorceress robes Alyrra of her true identity, she sees this as an opportunity to start a new life as a goose girl, where she doesn’t have to pretend in front of everyone and be her true self. 

Soon enough, she realises what is actually going on with the regular people in the kingdom. The poverty, the crimes, the fact that the royal guards don’t care at all. The fact that the street thieves have to make their own sets of rules in order to keep the peace on the streets. 

When a big tragedy hits home, Alyrra knows she needs to make a choice. Stay here and give up the identity of the princess forever, or go back to being a princess, only for the sake of saving the people.

“It is rare for someone who wants power to truly deserve it.”

My Thoughts:

Thorn is the first book of the Dauntless Path series, and I am so happy I had the chance to read it! Very powerful book, with a very strong female character, who is not afraid to say what she thinks and fight for what she believes in!

“I’ve found that acting when you are afraid is the greatest sign of courage there is.”

What I loved about Alyrra’s character is that it shows us how much of a hardship it can be to make a certain choice. It is not just black and white. At first, we all root for the – get your identity back. However, Alyrra has been abused all her life. Her brother abused her physically and her mother mentally. She then had to deal with the pressure of being a princess. Following rules. Not saying what she really thinks, but what others want to hear. She is then promised to marry someone she doesn’t know and pretend to be someone she is not, again. 

And suddenly, she can be someone else.

She has the chance to start a brand new life. A person that is not in the spotlight. She can think and speak freely. And that is why I understand her choice to want to stay as a goose girl forever.

“We all have our unspoken sorrows, hopes we cannot mention, choices we may yet regret.”

But then she sees the true picture of how people are treated in the kingdom. How people live. The injustice that happens on the streets every single day. And then she also gets the attention of the prince and being who she is, she is not afraid to say her mind. 

But to truly change things, she needs to become a princess again. And making such a choice comes not only with consequences, but with huge sacrifices too. 

The ending of Thorn was very well written and very satisfying. I am looking forward to reading more about Alyrra’s story and get more answers in the next book. I cannot recommend Thorn enough!

Thank you to ReadersFirst and Hot Key Books, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon US |

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