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Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar // Night Markets, Star Courts and Desi goodness

GOODREADS // AMAZON // BOOK DEPOSITORY The daughter of a star and a mortal, Sheetal is used to keeping secrets. Pretending to be "normal." But when an accidental flare of her starfire puts her human father in the hospital, Sheetal needs a full star's help to heal him. A star like her mother, who returned to the sky long ago. Sheetal's quest to save her father will take her to a celestial court of shining wonders and dark shadows, where she must take the stage as her family's champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of the heavens--and win, or risk never returning to Earth at all. This gorgeously imagined YA debut blends shades of Neil Gaiman's Stardust and a breathtaking landscape of Hindu mythology into a radiant contemporary fantasy.   ( A huge thank you to the  HOV Tours  and HarperTeen for the eARC and the opportunity to be a part of this blog tour.  ~When a book sees you~      Yes I am absolutely going to s

Thorn by Intisar Khanani // Friendship, justice and secondary characters to die for

A princess with two futures. A destiny all her own

Between her cruel family and the contempt she faces at court, Princess Alyrra has always longed to escape the confines of her royal life. But when she’s betrothed to the powerful prince Kestrin, Alyrra embarks on a journey to his land with little hope for a better future.

When a mysterious and terrifying sorceress robs Alyrra of both her identity and her role as princess, Alyrra seizes the opportunity to start a new life for herself as a goose girl.

But Alyrra soon finds that Kestrin is not what she expected. The more Alyrra learns of this new kingdom, the pain and suffering its people endure, as well as the danger facing Kestrin from the sorceress herself, the more she knows she can’t remain the goose girl forever.

With the fate of the kingdom at stake, Alyrra is caught between two worlds and ultimately must decide who she is, and what she stands for.
   (A huge thank you to the FFBC tours and the publisher for the eARC and the opportunity to be a part of this blog tour. Click on the tour banner above to view the tour schedule) (International Giveaway at the end of the post)

(+ favourite quotes)

     This is the year of retellings and couldn't be more happy about it *weird happy dance* Thorn is a retelling of The Grimm's fairytale, 'The Goose Girl' which I hadn't read and I think I can safely say that didn't affect the enjoyment of the novel. Although I did go back and read the fairytale after I finished the book and got some answers as to why the author included certain characters and scenes. 


~The Classic Fairytale vibes but with explanations~

     Yes it is a retelling but it has quite a bit of the whimsical vibes of original fairytales. There is a talking horse, the whispering wind and you notice multiple fairytale elements peeking out every now and then. But unlike in original fairytales, Thorn strives to explain the 'why' of many things. Why is there a talking horse and how does the wind whisper and I really appreciated that because it's something I don't like in fairytales; how things just are and the characters never question anything, no matter how weird it is.

~Crime, justice and punishment~

     The book deals with topics that I believe will always be relevant. Constantly there are crimes happening in the world Alyrra lives in and she tries to understand what justice truly means. When does punishment by death go from justice to another murder, when justice is delayed by the law, is it okay to take it into our hands? and I truly liked how Alyrra herself has contradictory opinions when she thinks about it which is true for all of us in matters like these.
"It may not be pretty, but sometimes justice has to be hard to keep the rest of us straight and safe." she suggests practically.

~Secondary characters I want more of and scope for a sequel~

     I loved the secondary characters so much! Alyrra's friends at the stable, Red Hawk the mysterious morally gray character, the kids Alyrra befriends on the streets and even the soldiers around the Prince were all an interesting bunch and I'd gladly read more stories with them in it.
"Start somewhere and keep going," she suggests practically.

     That brings me to begging the author for a sequel because I NEEDS IT. The main plot point is resolved but the ending isn't wrapped up tight. There were questions I had and things I wanted to know. I was mildly frustrated that we don't really know the fate of a despicable character from the beginning. I wanted justice to be done there and for the character to get the punishment they clearly deserve. And of course here's a lot left for us to ponder over, especially regarding where do the characters go next? What do they do after the last page is turned? Thorn doesn't have a full sense of closure at the end and left me asking for more.

~A complex romance which again, I want more of~

     Unlike fairytales, we do not have an inta-love here which I'll forever be thankful for. And it is a super lowkey romance that does not overshadow the plot but simply adds to it. I can't say much because *spoilers* BUT I loved that it's not a perfect romance. There are doubts, questions and sometimes the characters aren't sure about what they want from the other. It makes the couple feel quite real instead of a fairytale pairing that's just too unrealistically perfect.

~Found family and the importance of friendship~

Can I just hug all the stablehands and the street kids? I love how they all lookout for their friends and are there when someone needs them, especially Sage and violet telling Allyra they will help her even if it affects the sensibilities of the royals and the noblemen.
"Thorn, let me tell you about dangerous. Dangerous is cutting your finger on a rusty nail. Dangerous is walking too close behind a skittish horse. Dangerous is going anywhere in this city at night. Dangerous is NOT helping someone stay safe."

~Thorn is an underrated retelling of a lesser known fairytale and honestly deserves more hype because it truly delivers what it promises. ~

Do you enjoy fairytale retellings? Any underrated ones you'd recommend? Tell me in the comments below!