Genre: Fantasy Age Range: YA
These short stories/novellas form part of the world of THE DAUNTLESS PATH. The first book, THORN, was originally self-published before being acquired by a publisher and a companion duology added.
I received an eARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.
Star Rating: 4 stars Series: #0.5
This is a little bite of a story (Goodreads here) that shows the crucial events that happen before THORN. Before the events of THORN, the main character Alyrra has shamed noblewoman Valka over a theft. This historical event all their interactions in THORN. Without, Valka wouldn’t have done the very thing that the entire premise of THORN relies on.
While THORN does explain what happened, BRAMBLES brings more emotion to it, as it’s no longer a recounted tale. It also does a good job of also setting up her isolation and the coldness of her family.
It’s a quick read, and I’d recommend it’s read before THORN so you understand the full weight of the past.
THE BONE KNIFE
Star Rating: 4 stars Series: #1.5
At the back of the UK edition of THORN (and possibly also US?) there is a copy of this novella (Goodreads here.) It introduces the protagonist, Rae, of the companion duology (THE THEFT OF SUNLIGHT and A DARKNESS AT THE DOOR.)
It’s a fun little story, and a very nice way to bridge the protagonist gap between the books. It gives a grounding to Rae, who comes from a very different world to Alyrra. Rae is not royalty, raised in the court of a small kingdom. Instead, she’s from a horse ranch in the south of the larger country that Alyrra is due to marry into.
It is also a glimpse at how the fae (who hardly feature in THORN but I suspect will play a greater role in the coming books) interact with the world. Plus there’s more magic, which is always a plus, and we see Rae’s fierce bond with her sisters.
THE TEARS OF A DRAGON
Star Rating: Series: #1.7
THE TEARS OF A DRAGON (Goodreads here) was a short story unlocked as a stretch goal for A DARKNESS AT THE DOOR audiobook (etc) kickstarter. It recounts a tale referenced a few times in the Rae duology about Rae’s utterly fearless younger sister, Bean.
This is a story about Bean leading the charge to rescue dragons when a mage and royal soldiers capture a baby dragon in order to snare the mother. And animal lover Bean is absolutely not standing for that outrage. It’s a story of courage and kindness, fitting right in with the rest of the series, but just bringing a mythical creature into play!
Bean is the youngest sister by a fair bit and this book captures that younger voice so well, and the frustrations of being the youngest. Alyrra and Rae are teens who are almost adults with a lot of responsibility on their shoulders, and their voices reflect that. Such a distinct voice here really helps separate the narrators.
Read my reviews of other books by Intisar Khanani:
The Dauntless Path (this series):
- THORN (#1)
- THE THEFT OF SUNLIGHT (#2, Rae #1)
- A DARKNESS AT THE DOOR (#3, Rae #2)