Review: Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton

Heart of Thorns (Heart of Thorns, #1)

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.

That blurb is incredibly misleading, because I was expecting a book where we have this kick-ass, hunter girl who is told she is marrying a prince and we see her getting used to the castle and the restrictions. Instead, by the time this book starts Mia is already in the castle, and in fact we're only a day away from her wedding. That already put me off the book.

Still, I persevered with this book to give it a chance, even though the start was slow and the writing felt forced and I think I already knew that I was not going to love this book.

That didn't change.

Look, a few years ago I would have enjoyed this book a lot more. This year there are so many amazing fantasy novels coming out that this one didn't stand out. It just didn't hold it's own against books like Long May She Reign. It felt flat and the characters were irritating and I felt that the world building was lacking. 

More than that though, there were some plot devices which were used to build drama and push the story that I just disagree with. As soon as a fantasy novel uses sexual abuse as a plot device to make a woman more 'vulnerable' - a strong woman as well, I'm gone. There are some books that it sort of works with, and that I can deal because the character grows and it fits the plot and the characters. This was not one of them. I could rant about this for hours but I won't. Just know that what was an okay-ish book just lost it's appeal to me after that. I finished the book but a could not have cared less about what happened.

Look, just... learn from this. Don't market a book as feminist or 'strong female characters' if you're just going to force the feminism down my throat at every turn and then just flip that on it's head for a gratuitous rape scene. K... thanks. Bye.

Book released 31st July 2018 by Katherine Tegan Books
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review


  1. Ughh that is so upsetting. I was really looking forward to this one, but so not a fan of sexual assault as a plot device.

  2. I read this one recently too! And I agree with everything you have mentioned here! I didn't find the book feminist at all - I think it was just a marketing ploy.


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