by T. Kingfisher
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Pub Date 15 Aug 2023 | Archive Date 15 Aug 2023
Tor Publishing Group, Tor Books
From USA Today bestselling author T. Kingfisher, Thornhedge is the tale of a kind-hearted, toad-shaped heroine, a gentle knight, and a mission gone completely sideways.
*A very special hardcover edition, featuring foil stamp on the casing and custom endpapers illustrated by the author.*
There's a princess trapped in a tower. This isn't her story.
Meet Toadling. On the day of her birth, she was stolen from her family by the fairies, but she grew up safe and loved in the warm waters of faerieland. Once an adult though, the fae ask a favor of Toadling: return to the human world and offer a blessing of protection to a newborn child. Simple, right?
But nothing with fairies is ever simple.
Centuries later, a knight approaches a towering wall of brambles, where the thorns are as thick as your arm and as sharp as swords. He's heard there's a curse here that needs breaking, but it's a curse Toadling will do anything to uphold…
"The way Thornhedge turns all the fairy tales inside out is a sharp-edged delight."
—Katherine Addison, author of The Goblin Emperor
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 176 members
I was given an Arc copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
What an incredible take on Sleeping Beauty! This was such a short read but absolutely wonderful!
Anytime I see a T. Kingfisher Book it’s automatically being purchased for my physical shelf! This book was so cute with Toadling and Halim with just the right touch of creepy with Fayette…I don’t know if there would ever be a second one but now I want more!
5/5 stars and will definitely be recommending this!
Thank you to NetGalley, T. Kingfisher and Tor Publishing Group for an arc of Thornhedge in exchange for an honest review. This review is wholly my own & may not be reproduced.
T. Kingfisher is an auto-read for me. I am super excited that I get this opportunity to review her new novel set to publish 8/15/2023!
Ok, so I loved this little novella!! Just based on the description, I was thinking along the lines of Shrek.
Toadling is a toad-shaped heroine, not our usual beautiful princess. She was stolen by faeries from her family when she was born, but she was raised safe & loved. They just asked on favor of her – to return to the human world and offer a blessing of protection on a newborn child. Well, that doesn’t go off without a hitch! Centuries later, a knight discovers thornhedge and decides he needs to break the curse, but Toadling isn’t about to let that happen.
This was a refreshing take on the old Sleeping Beauty type fairytale. The characters were so likeable. Like, you just can’t help but like them. Kingfisher has such an amazing style of writing that can only be described as “friendly.” It makes it hard not to like her work. While this story has its dark moment, the heart of it is extremely sweet and heartwarming.
Pacing was great & the ending was extremely satisfying. Don’t miss out on this adorable novella about Toadling!!! I highly recommend!
Absolutely delightful! I wasn’t sure where the story was headed and was entranced to the end. I hope we will get more of her adventures. More please!
I love a good twist on a fairy tale and this book does that and then some. T Kingfisher once again brings her whimsical storytelling to a darker kind of fairy tale. The one where the princess might be sealed away to protect everyone else. An excellent little bite of a story.
I never know what I’m getting into with a T. Kingfisher piece, but I always walk away unnerved, but in a quirky cool way. This was certainly one of the neatest fairytale retellings I’ve encountered in a minute—what if the princess was the real villain all along???!!!! (and she was so creepy!!) I loved Toadling, and how hard she tried to do her best and help people, and how the whole story wasn’t leading up to this grand romance thing where the hag was actually beautiful all along, yadda yadda. We love a good trope subversion. Some novellas, I feel, suffer under the lack of pages, but this was perfect. I got enough from the characters that even though I would love to read a whole buddy novel of Toadling and Halim traveling around, exploring the world, I don’t feel like I *need* more to develop them as people in my brain. Anyway. It was good. Read like a dream. There are images that are burned into my brain forever. You’ve done it again, T. Kingfisher.
I adored this retelling of Sleeping Beauty! My dear Toadling, I loved her so much, her story could have been so tragic and yet ends up so sweet.
T. Kingfisher's books have been on my reading list for a while now and I'm so glad to have read this as my first book of hers. I will be moving her other books to the top of my list.
Thank you to NetGalley and Tor for making this available in exchange for an honest review!
T. Kingfisher did it again! I love all of her books, but her fairy tale novellas are my favorites. I really, really hope she continues to write them. Thornhedge may be my favorite thus far, though. I absolutely love Kingfisher's writing style, and I think it lends itself well to fairy-tale style writing. As soon as you start reading, you feel like you've been dropped into the world.
I also really appreciate how Kingfisher writes main characters who aren't your standard attractive young person. There are definitely reasons why people want to read about attractive people falling in love with other attractive people, but the strength of Kingfisher's writing means that you don't actually care that Toadling, well, looks like a toad.
Finally, the retelling itself is simply astounding. None of the Sleeping Beauty retellings I've read have ever gone into depth about the fairy world that the evil fairy came from. Kingfisher's depiction of the fairy realm seemed familiar and easy to sink into. The vagueness of the time period and location made the story seem all the more like a classic fairy tale. And I was absolutely not expecting the Sleeping Beauty to be a bloodthirsty and crazed little changeling!
Recommended if you like: retellings, Sleeping Beauty, fairytales, Fair Folk, T. Kingfisher
This review has been posted to Netgalley as of 2/12 and will be posted to my book review blog 2/15 and to Instagram 3/15.
Welcome to a Sleeping Beauty retelling where the sleeping princess is not only not the main character, she's not even a good character. I liked this take on the fairytale and how complicated everything was. While it's somewhat similar in concept to The Sleeper and the Spindle, it takes it in a different direction and it was interesting to see how the situation evolved over time.
I liked Toadling and the way she viewed the world. She had an utter love for the 'monsters' that raised her and her view of beauty was entirely based on what she saw in her mothers and sisters, though she was also aware of human standards of beauty as well. We get to see different aspects of Toadling throughout the book as well and get to understand both how she handles different situations and how she ended up where she is in the 'present.' I do wish we got to see more of Toadling with her family since the descriptions were phenomenal and I really wanted to enjoy more pond/mud/toad settings and magic.
Halim is a knight who is...not so great at being a knight. That is to say, he's a knight but he isn't interested in doing tournaments or fighting other people, though he does have the 'saving maidens' part down. I liked his character a lot, in part because he has a natural curiosity about things, but mostly because he's got such a matter-of-fact way of looking at things and has some of the funnier lines in the book.
The book is told in a semi-nonlinear fashion, beginning with the present and then switching to various points in the past to describe what happened, and then coming back to the present again. I liked the style and thought it was a good way to show everything without having massive amounts of exposition/dialogue.
I also liked being able to see the past because, as mentioned above, it allows us to see Toadling in different situations and how she handles different circumstances. It was also nice because it means we get to read about Faerie and the different creatures that exist there and not just stay in the 'present' human world.
Overall I enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it as a quick, light read if you're interested in unusual fairytale retellings and/or fantasy books.
A few years ago I started reading adult fairy tales like "Uprooted" and "Spinning Silver" both by Naomi Novik, and fell into a black hole of where I couldn't find books that had a similar feel. Then I started reading T. Kingfisher and have been following her stuff like a weird devotee. In all of her works you can't help but like the characters. I'm speaking too broadly and not drilling down on this particular book, but it still applies.
If I could meet the greenteeths and not be eaten by them, I think I would. The sense of family Toadling got from them was like a warm hug to me.
The Goddess - this year is really the year of the rabbit. So many fantasy books like "The Magician's Daughter" by H.G. Parry and this one features a magical rabbit. I realize two doesn't really equal a lot, but I stand by what I'm saying, and anyways I like talking rabbits. The Goddess however, like she says, “We are made of cruelty and kindness both.”
Toadling and Halim were both relatable characters. I loved them both, but especially Halim. I loved his dedication to doing the right thing and the descriptions of his mother. How she would expect him to behave and how she would care for Toadling if he brought her back with him. There's an earnestness and wit to him, "...a knife that my mother’s imam said duas over and also I had it blessed by the Benedictine monk who ran the library, so between the two of them, it ought to be quite holy by now. I couldn’t find a rabbi. Well, I did, but he wanted to come along because he’d never met a fairy, and I thought you wouldn’t like that."
Toadling was such a lonesome creature before Halim came along. I could feel her grief at being the last sentinel, and was happy with the speed with which she made Halim a friend.
The one problem I have with T. Kingfisher novels is that I have such a book hangover once they're done, and this particular story was just a little over hundred pages, so it lasted me only a day. I'm now stuck to opening many books on my ereader and not committing to any.
Another quote, this one made me laugh out loud.
Chapter 6 -- Page: 65
“Not that he’d have died,” she had muttered, “but I was like to throttle him if he did not stop his whining.”
Another winner from T. Kingfisher, it had what I enjoyed from the writing style. The characters were what I was hoping for and I enjoyed the fairy-tale elements. It had what I enjoyed from previous books and thought the characters were what I was expecting. Overall I had a great time and thought it worked well in what I was looking for.
"I brought things to break curses,” he said. “I didn’t know who cursed you, or how, so I brought as many as I could find.” He gestured toward the mule. “There’s moly and salt and rowan and rue and candles, and a knife that my mother’s imam said duas over and also I had it blessed by the Benedictine monk who ran the library, so between the two of them, it ought to be quite holy by now. "
"She was theirs; they were hers. The love of monsters was uncomplicated."
I had the great fortune of being able to read this before publication thanks to NetGalley approving me. It is the first time I have had the chance to use NetGalley and having this book be my first foray could not have been a greater gift!
This story plays on what readers have come to expect from fairy tales. It challenges the genre and looks at it from a different point of view. It isn't quite parallel or parallax, but it asks the question of, what if everything you expect from fairy tales is not quite right? What if it is just set ever-so-slightly to the left?
Thornhedge faithfully takes the darkness of a true fairy tale and lets the story unspool in such a soft-hearted and gentle way, that you almost forget how dark the story truly becomes. Toadling is so effortlessly kind even to those who might not deserve it, that it feels impossible to describe her in the ways she often describes herself. At the core of its story, Thornhedge is about children taken from their families and what difference it makes to open yourself up to love. It is a story about refusing to bend what you believe to be beautiful to what the world thinks is beautiful. It is a story about finding a place to belong for yourself and how it is up to you to recognize where that space is.
Words cannot express how much of a joy this was to read or how excited I will be to purchase a physical copy as soon as it is available on the shelf!
This was a lovely magical twist on Sleeping Beauty, where <spoiler>Sleeping Beauty is an evil changeling</spoiler>. Lyrically told, it felt like a natural extension of the original tale, even as it tipped that story on its head. This was the perfect length as a novella, with its focus on the two central characters, and didn't have any extraneous fluff bogging it down. It was an easy one sitting, one hour read for me. Tiny and magical, like Toadling herself.
Some macabre content and a supremely gentle burgeoning friendship that might eventually become romantic, but nothing that would put this out of reach of a middle schooler who loves a good fairy tale twist.
Gonna admit it: I'm officially a T. Kingfisher stan now.
Another in the author's line of Fairy Tale novels, this is a reimagined Sleeping Beauty tale, from the perspective of the fairy who locked her into sleep.
Toadling was once a human child, stolen away to faerie, where she lived happily ever after - until she was plucked from her nest to serve as godmother to the Changeling left in her place. Now she lives alone within a nest of brambles, a small guard against the changing world.
Until one day, there came a knight...
Sweet, quiet, and absolute comfort reading.
Another retelling of a classic fairytale, but with lots of humor and heart along with it. T. Kingfisher is the best at this. The story does get a little high fantasy for my own personal tastes, but the author still makes it easy to follow and understand. The characters are lovely and interesting with so many layers and its just fun to read her stuff.
I finished this early this morning and then proceeded to weep (I ain't too proud to admit that) for at least fifteen minutes. This has been one of the most wonderful reading experiences I have had in a long time. I can relate to Toadling in many ways. The way she tries her best and has no faith in herself, just resonated so much. This twist on "Sleeping Beauty" was a refreshing take. The sub plots of found family and seeing beauty in everything are what made me have such strong feelings. T. Kingfisher has done something that many writers have tried before but she pulled it off in the most fulfilling way. Highly, highly recommend.
T. Kingfisher has been putting out the most creative novellas, and this is no exception. Prepare for a Sleeping Beauty take that gets a little darker but in ways that fans of the cycle may not expect.
Toadling, the m.c., is a truly charming character who is as uncertain about her roles and responsibilities as readers are, at least during the early parts of this piece. One of the most fun parts of this read is learning more of those details, so I'm keeping this intentionally vague. Toadling has been maintaining what for her is the necessary status quo, but when an external party appears, she has to manage that person and consider her own path forward for the first time in a VERY long time.
This is a fast and engaging addition to the Sleeping Beauty cycle, and it comes not only with existential questions about also some moral questions and contemplations about the importance of family and a sense of place. Added props for a version that - unlike nearly all of its companions - does not require an assault-based trigger warning. That's refreshing on its own.
I love this author and can't wait to read whatever comes next!
Thornhedge is a brilliant subversion of all things fairytale with a prickly exterior that hides hidden depths. Kingfisher skillfully melds history and legend together in this unexpected retelling of Sleeping Beauty that breaks down classic character archetypes and explores the side of a supposed villain. Equally weird and wonderful, Thornhedge is my favorite flavor of fairytale!
Full review will be available on my blog closer to publication!
What is Sleeping Beauty didn't need to be rescued... This is a clever retelling of the sleeping beauty story.
As this was a novella, and a bit of a quick read there isn't too much to say about the plot without giving it away. Toadling was a delight, her "knight" Halim was sweet and less there to save her, and more to help her save herself.
Captivating and fresh in a way that retelling often are not, I can not recommend this story enough to fans of Kingfisher or fairytales.
I have a deep and abiding affection for reimagined fairytales, but, even within the strange magic of that particular subgenre, this is a breath of fresh air. Or...pond water...or something.
Somewhere deep inside me there’s a feral child who loves stories about other feral children who, despite everything, are raised with the love of the wild creatures around them. I’m not sure where this inner child came from, but this book made them very, very happy.
In some ways this was a simpler story than I’m used to from Kingfisher, but that really only served to show off the beautiful, terrible ideas and the gorgeously spare prose. Top notch fractured fairy tale retelling. I’ll be coming back to this one again, and I hope to the reader’s gods that there’s an audiobook version.
When I start a new Kingfisher, I usually think there’s no way she can create characters that I love as much as the last Kingfisher book I read, but then she does it, again and again. And in a novella! This was a lovely, warm-hearted retelling of Sleeping Beauty that recasts the Beauty as the villain and the fairy as the awkward, out-of-place protagonist. There’s so much to like about this, but it should satisfy readers who enjoy fairy tale retellings, strong women characters, knights who mean well, and Kingfisher’s writing. Highly recommended.
Thank you to NetGalley and Tor for the advanced copy of this book!
Kingfisher became an instant read for me after Nettle & Bone and in Thornhedge we get another reimagined fairytale. This is a novella so it's a quick read, but it's very satisfying at the same time. We meet Toadling, who can take a human form or a toad form, as she is spending years hidden in a tower. She watches the years pass by as she's hidden behind the dense brambles that protect the tower and keep from the outside world. Occasionally people come to the tower after hearing tales of a princess trapped in the tower, but none ever make it through the thorny barrier. Eventually people forget about the tower, until one day a knight comes and doesn't leave. We then learn the true tale of the princess in the tower and why Toadling is there. Not all princesses should be saved.
Toadling has already failed at her task. She has given up everything to keep her charge hidden from the changing world. When a humble knight stumbles across her forgotten bramble patch, his curiosity places her secret in peril. Can she hold fast against him, or will her fears that she is not enough come true?
5 stars for the magic with which T. Kingfisher spins the traditional rhythms of this newly woven fairy tale. Through THORNHEDGE, you'll reconsider what "ugliness" really means and rethink your expectations about how the story is meant to end. Anyone with anxiety issues will feel this tale deeply. I will now count it among my favorite comfort re-reads.
I was given the opportunity to review an e-ARC of THORNHEDGE through NetGalley.
I will read anything T. Kingfisher writes, and this book didn't let me down! It was just as funny and well-written as all the other books Kingfisher has recently put out, and I absolutely loved it.
Sleeping Beauty retelling but make the princess the villain and the witch the hero. Oh, and the witch named Toadling looks like a toad in human form and can transform into a toad? SIGN ME UP
On the day she was born, Toadling was stolen by the fairies and grew up in the water of the faerieland safe and loved. When she grew to adulthood, the fae asked her if she would return to the human realm and offer a gift to a newborn child, and things go horribly wrong. Centuries later, a knight comes to the hidden tower covered in brambles and thorns in search of a curse that needs to be broken. What he finds is Toadling having stayed guarding the tower and willing to uphold the "curse" no matter the cost.
Seeing the classic fairytale turned on its head was exciting since it opened up a new path for the story to take and was able to explore other aspects of the characters without it being the same story told over and over. I love everything this author writes, and this did not disappoint. Thornhedge is 128 pages of pure page-turning enjoyment. It was short just like fairytales themselves are, but that didn't take anything away from the story. In fact, I think the length was perfect. The writing was beautiful, and I loved Toadling and the prince getting to know each other and Toadling slowly coming to the realization that she's been at the tower far longer than she herself knew.
I think one of the most intriguing parts of the story was seeing the juxtaposition between the Princess and Toadling. Toadling was raised in a safe, loving world knowing that she would always be accepted whereas the Princess was raised with those around her fearing her for her horrifying outbursts. I also really enjoyed the love story between the Muslim knight and Toadling. They both admitted that neither are conventionally attractive, but are "interesting" and it just made my heart so happy to see that in a book.
Thank you to NetGalley for this e-ARC. 5/5!!
Familiar and warm but with a touch of terror, Thornhedge catches the mood of a fairytale brilliantly. Kingfisher knows she doesn’t have to introduce the shape of the Sleeping Beauty story, so the new twists are established first then it slowly unravels how they fit within the shifts of this version of the tale. Both Toadling and Halim were interesting, delightful people I wanted to spend more time with in the end.
This twisted take on Sleeping Beauty is gracefully written with subtly lyrical descriptions of a vivid world of faerie both beautiful and horrifying and a human world that makes the reader feel the damp and fear the thorns. It is an exceptional fantasy.
T. Kingfisher never has a bad book it seems and this book continues her streak of amazing works. I loved Thornhedge. I gobbled it up in two sittings and it's one of my favorite books this year. The story was heartbreaking, hilarious, and thrilling all in turn and it's a book I foresee going back to again and again for rereads in the years to come. I'm already planning for this book to be my recurring Christmas present this upcoming Christmas.
Sleeping Beauty is one of my all-time favorite fairy tales, and T Kingfisher is very quickly and solidly cementing herself as a favorite author of fairy tale reimaginings. So when I saw this title and author, I immediately knew I had to get my hands on it - and this did not disappoint. This is such a great twist on the original fairy tales with Toadling trying to keep Fayette from doing harm, and ending up keeping her asleep for over 200 years. I loved the world building and the different Fae creatures who make appearances. In some ways the conclusion felt a little abrupt, but I do love how things resolve for Toadling. This also has really great lines on perception of beauty, and what makes someone or something beautiful based on the ideals one grows up around. In the author’s note/acknowledgments, Kingfisher talks about this book being sweet and I can honestly see it. Yes, there’s violence and Fae creatures who harm mortals and Toadling is a child stolen away to faerieland, but also it’s got themes of family and connection and the power kindness can hold. All in all, definitely a book I enjoyed and one I’m sure other fans of Kingfisher will adore, and one I will be recommending!
A retelling of Sleeping Beauty told from the perspective of Toadling, a changeling fairy. Toadling was the human baby meant to be Fayette and she is sent back with a gift to keep the fairy exchange girl from doing harm to others. Toadling muffs the spell and has to do her best to keep Fayette from killing everyone. Truly an enchanting story!
Thanks Netgalley for the ARC.
Oh my gosh this is just SUCH a fantastic little story. Absolutely on my list for new favorite novellas. I adored the depth and range of emotion, the twist of a known story trope, and the awesome fae creatures. Highly recommend it!
This book had me curl up into a small ball and tear up.
Toadling was quirky and absolutely heartwarming. As a reader I could feel her loneliness and the sacrifices required of her until her role was complete. As she watched many years pass by her, she comes across a human who refuses to leave and it turns her on her head. And it’s at that point I became even more invested in Toadling because her emotions and world view shined.
I truly enjoyed how the Sleeping Beauty fairytale was molded and modified into something truly unique. The language and tone used through the novella was very fairytale-esque and aided in the gorgeous world building. Which was simplistic and striking. And though it was a beautifully short read, I don’t think I have resonated so strongly with a character than I did with Toadling.
Thank you to Tor and NetGalley for giving me this eARC in return for my honest review.
I absolutely adored this story. It was short and quick but so full and complete as well. I loved the characters, and I loved the twisted tale or reimagining or sleeping beauty. I found it to be very unique and wholesome. It had such a satisfying ending as well. Perfect for any age.
What has two thumbs and loves a frog-fairy woman, this guy!
T. Kingfisher is on my auto-request list for authors and I cannot get enough of her writing! Kingfisher dazzles again with the whimsy, cleverness, and heart that is Thornhedge. A shy and unexcitable Toadling is switched at birth with a fairy changeling and taken to the swamps of Fairieland. Not one to cause a fuss, Toadling is safe and loved with her swampy found family, with just enough magic to enjoy living the green life. This quiet existence comes to an abrupt end when she is forcefully brought back to the human world and ordered to bestow a gift on the child who replaced her. When her orders fail and her plans amuck, she is the only thing standing between what sleeps in the tower and the safety of everything outside of it.
Thumbs up: Its a completely ribbiting novel, I fell in love so quickly with Toadling and devoured this sweet novella in one sitting. A totally reimagined take on "Sleeping Beauty" that one has never seen, Toadling is the quiet hero that we may not know we so desperately needed. A little cozy, a little macabre, and a whole lot of love.
Thumbs down: I have nothing! I loved this book and fought with my e-reader every step of the way trying to get the format to work. It was well worth it.
Was it a nail biter? Absolutely, you will want to get right down in the mud with Thornhedge for your next cozy novella read.
CW: suicide, animal torture (both are mentioned, neither described)
T. Kingfisher has gifted us an imaginative and dark retelling of the Sleeping Beauty fairytale. When a knight discovers the location of the mythical tower that houses an enchanted maiden, Toadling knows she must do everything to stop him from entering.
Stolen at birth and raised by fairies, Toadling has spent almost her entire life guarding the tower, and guarding one of her most closely held secrets.
I loved Kingfisher's spin on this classic fairy tale and the characters within. It's deliciously dark and oddly humorous. Toadling is a surprisingly sweet character and Halim, our knight, was delightfully charming and affable. Such an interesting and enjoyable novella.
Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this title. All opinions and mistakes are my own.
This book was short and very sweet. A wonderful story with characters you want to know more and more about. Would recommend to everyone and absolutely read again!
Beautifully written riff on a fairytale. More magic, more mystery, more emotion. Toadling has more responsibility than one faerie should ever be burdened with and when its security is threatened by a curious knight she must choose between herself and her duty. So good I wanted there to be more.
It’s no secret that I am, in fact, a ginormous fan of Ursula Vernon, aka T. Kingfisher. I’ve read almost everything she’s put out at this point, and I’m clambering for more. PLEASE GIVE ME MORE. When I saw that her latest novella was on Netgalley, you can safely imagine me literally leaping at my mouse to request an ARC. Thankfully, Tor seems to like me, and they very generously allowed me a copy.
Needless to say, I loved Thornhedge. I would have gladly read an entire novel with these characters, in this world, but honestly? An entire novel wasn’t needed! Thornhedge is very short, but Kingfisher is a master at working in the short form. You don’t miss anything. There’s nothing absent from the story for the sake of shortness. It is, in fact, wrapped up rather neatly by the end.
Kingfisher, as always, has sprinkled a little horror inside her fairytale retelling, and we see it in the form of Fayette. Fayette is a changeling, and she’s a horror from the moment she’s born. She tortures animals. She tortures the servants. She hurts everyone she comes in contact with, and very quickly people who are around her turn up dead. Toadling, our heroine, is a fairy. She’s not a pretty fairy, she doesn’t have wings, or sparkle. She turns into a toad. She’s a sweetheart. She does what she must — she puts Fayette in an enchanted sleep.
Two hundred or something years pass, and Toadling has spent it all in the shadow of Fayette’s tower, keeping watch Then, Halim comes to try and rescue ‘the fair maiden’ in the tower. I loved Halim. Halim is a sweetheart knight who always apologizes when he curses, who tries his best to help Toadling, and most importantly of all, listens and believes Toadling. Halim was a welcome change from the usual hero. He is also thoroughly Muslim, and talks about his religion on page.
I loved how Kingfisher wrote this, but that’s not new for me and my experience with her writing. As I said on Goodreads, I will literally read anything that Kingfisher writes. Her water bill. Her grocery list. Whatever. She’s a genius, and I love her. Thornhedge is a solid five stars. I know you will love it.
This is another great book by T. Kingfisher. She takes a normal fairy tale and flips it on its head. This is a good introduction to the author and doesn't veer too much into the the horror genre. The characters are also delightful.
My favourite Kingfisher novel yet. Absolutely brilliant, enthralling, and hypnotizing. I could not get enough and read on deep into the night.
Could not recommend enough.
Even though I am a bit over fairy tale retelling, Kingfisher knows how to take a worn out troupe and give it new life. I really enjoyed how beautiful the story and writing was. A oddly cozy read but full of adventure and wimsy.
Absolutely gorgeous sleeping beauty retelling. Vividly atmospheric. I will never forget Toadling and her magical world and sweet and scrappy personality. This is a story I will re-read. Thank you to Netgalley and Tor for early access to the digital arc.
I’ve recently become obsessed with T. Kingfisher’s novels so I’m trying to get my hands on everything she’s ever written. Thornhedge is her newest adult fantasy novella that’s a reimagining of Sleeping Beauty but where the princess is the villain and the one who curses the princess is the heroine.
I loved this story. It was so fun to get to know Toadling, a girl who can transform into a toad and who can cast spells. She is patrolling the hedge made of thorns (hence the title) that surrounds the tower that contains the sleeping princess, when one day a man on horseback shows up and wants to explore the land beyond the hedge of thorns.
I won’t say any more because this story is short and it deserves to have some mystery to it, but I love how Kingfisher wrote this. This is a version of Sleeping Beauty that I’ve never seen done before, and I thought it was quite unique.
If you love fantastical novellas that take place in dark, creepy forests and stories about curses that maybe shouldn’t be broken after all, then you should check out Thornhedge. It was a delight to read, and I loved the ending.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an E-Arc copy of this novel. A wonderful fantasy read. The author pulls you into to story and before I knew it I was done. A must read!
I've loved everything I've read by T. Kingfisher, so the fact that I loved this doesn't surprise me at all--but I REALLY loved it. Thornhedge is a clever twist on Sleeping Beauty that reads as both classic and fresh. I, like the author, thought it was very sweet (even with the notes of horror). I feel like I want to read this one again immediately.
Minutes after she was born, Toadling was swapped for a changeling and spirited away to the Faerie world. Despite being whisked away from her home, she grew up feeling loved and supported by her adopted family, until the fateful day that the fae asked a favour of her. All she has to do is return to the human world and offer a blessing of protection to a human child... should be easy right? Centuries later a Knight comes across a towering wall of Brambles, he's heard the stories, of a Princess trapped in a tower, a curse that needs breaking. Only this is one curse Toadling will do anything to uphold.
For such a small story this certainly packs an emotional punch, something that shouldn't surprise me because Kingfisher is a master in storytelling. Told solely from Toadlings POV the story flits between her present time ensuring the curse and the person who is under it stay locked in the tower, and her past which show the events leading to now. Toadlings story is both a mixture of happy and sad. Whisked away from her human life, she was taken in by the greenteeth - swamp dwelling creatures in the land of faerie - who raised her as if she was one of their own and introduced her to the world of magic. When she finds herself returning to the human world, she is woefully unprepared for what awaits her, especially when her blessing goes awry and she finds herself the keeper of a child who takes pleasure in harming others. Toadling was such a brilliant character, despite being over 200 years old she still reads as if she was a young person on the cusp of adulthood, and being of two worlds, she spends a good portion of the book longing to return to her family of Greenteeth, whilst also wanting to explore more of the human world.
Being such a small book, Kingfisher keeps our cast of characters small - we spend the most time with Harim, the Knight who stumbles upon Toadlings tower and who is determined to break the curse that's keeping her there. He was your typical Kingfisher male character, someone who is both dangerous and a little broken and I couldn't help but laugh at all his instances of telling Toadling how his mother would scald him for swearing, or not treating her correctly. I also enjoyed the little time we got to spend in the fae world with Toadlings family of Greenteeth. Her description of them certainly gives off a slightly sinister vibe, but you can feel the love she has for these creatures who took her in despite her human birth.
Thronhedge was such a brilliant take on the 'beautiful Princess stuck in a tower, cursed by an ugly witch/faerie' and I adored how she threw the traditional ideals of beauty on their head. Kingfisher really focuses on the idea that beauty is subjective in this book. Toadling, knows she isn't beautiful in the traditional sense, and she knows the family she grew up with would more likely scare people than amaze them with their beauty, but she also knows that looks aren't all that matters, it's whats inside, someone's behaviour and how they act to and around others that really showcase their beauty. Kingfisher still manages to give us all the fairy tale vibes that we yearn for, but she takes the traditional style and throws it out of the window, making it slightly more feminist and showing that beauty is not what makes somebody good or bad, a trend I am seeing crop up more and more recently and one that I love.
If you're looking for a quick and easy read, but one that still packs an emotional punch and gives off big fairy tale vibes, I can't recommend this enough. I would love to return to this world, especially if we get to explore the fae side a little more, and I loved how open ended Kingfisher left the story. I have yet to find a book by Kingfisher that I haven't adored, and I can't wait to pick up whatever she writes next.
As they did with Nettle & Bone, Kingfisher takes us again into a gloriously warped fairy tale where the traditional main characters lurk in the background, and the usual secondary characters become the stars. Toadling is a beautiful, sweet (yes, sweet - you'll understand if you read the acknowledgement) heroine who you will want to pick up and envelope in a huge hug, and Halim is the hero that you wish all stories had. Together they will battle brambles and bricks and an evil beauty who would prefer to break them to pieces. Kingfisher takes the fairy tale retelling genre and makes it entirely their own with this beautifully original story.
T Kingfisher has such a warm, funny voice. I'd probably die for Toadling, honestly. She was sweet and unique and charming and, as a lifelong lover of frogs and toads, she was basically my perfect protagonist. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for something light and charming, a very common request these days.
Sleeping Beauty, but make it WAY more complicated.
I pretty much love everything I've read by T Kingfisher, so it's a no-brainer that I would want to read this novella; I don't think I even read the blurb before requesting it. And I have no regrets, having just read it in a sitting (it's under 100 pages, so not THAT extreme).
Toadling has been sitting behind, and sometimes within, a hedge of thorns and brambles for centuries. She's despaired of knights and adventurous boys coming along with axes to try and cut down the hedge, because she really doesn't want them to. One day, when it's been a long time since anyone approached the hedge, Halim camps outside the wall... and she ends up speaking with him.
Toadling is not who you think she is, and this story is not what you might expect. It's wondrous and twisty and a bit heart-wrenching, and all in all a really great story. I love Toadling and I will not look at Sleeping Beauty the same way again.
I LOVED Thornhedge. T. Kingfisher retells Sleeping Beauty in a way I’ve never read before… by asking, “What if the person sleeping is the villain?”
I am not a fast reader, but once I sat down to read Thornhedge, I couldn’t put it down. I finished the entire book in a single day. Granted, it’s not a long book at only 128 pages, but for me, that’s a lot to finish in a day.
The only thing I wish this book had was MORE. I need more of Toadling and the knight, Halim!
Oh gosh. I loved this little book. Toadling has quickly become one of my all time favorite characters. This weird little Sleeping Beauty retelling, with a bit of horror and a lot of monsters, is so full of love, and faith, and turning into a toad when you're nervous to hide in the mud. Honestly that's a skill I wish I had.
I have such a hard time reviewing books when I love them this much.
Toadling has been guarding the thorn filled hedge around the castle for a long, long time. Someone sleeps in the castle tower, and she does not want them to wake. But the world has moved on, as it is wont to do, and history has faded into myth. The likelihood of someone showing up to free the sleeper seems small. Until one day, a mediocre knight who likes stories arrives, and everything changes.
This is the perfect novella. It never loses its fairy tale feel, but the characters are still developed and real. Halim, the knight, may not be a very good knight, but he is a wonderful character, and I loved the interactions between him and Toadling. The writing gives such a good visual of the castle keep and Toadlings home, and even though there are some horror filled bits, it's also full of humor and kindness and love. I cannot recommend it enough.
An utterly sweet and whimsical novella, Kingfisher once again deftly weaves a classic fairytale into her own unique tapestry where beauty can hide great evil and ugliness can hide a gentle heart.
A delightful fractured fairy tale! This was a one-sitting read for me, with a charming heroine, deft but spare worldbuilding, and a great central idea. I'll read anything T. Kingfisher writes, but this was a special delight.
This subverted fairytale retelling of sleeping beauty just completely stole my heart. Toadling has burrowed inside and taken permanent residence inside my heart and I would literally die for her. My one and only complaint was that it was way too short. I could have spent hours, days, weeks more with Toadling and her adorable knight, Halim. Highly highly recommended.
So gorgeous and lovable, just a great story all around. This author never disappoints. The length was appropriate, but I also wish it was longer because it was just so good. I will be recommending it to everyone upon release.
This was such an intriguing retelling of sleeping beauty where the princess is the monster, a faerie toad is trying her best, and the knight/prince is here to listen instead of save the princess. I also enjoyed the change in actions of the prince/knight interesting as well since he was willing to listen to Toadling’s story and not insist on trying to save the princess afterwards.
I think the author does an amazing job at world building especially for such a short book. I was not left confused or felt like the book was lacking or missing information. Although I do feel the ending was kind of rushed and I wished we could have learned what happened in the end to Toadling and the Prince.
Thornhedge is a story about Toadling, a fairy who is sent to bestow a gift upon a human child. Things don't quite go as planned, and Toadling spends 200 years watching over a keep that holds a 'sleeping beauty.' One day, a knight comes along, having read a story about a princess in a tower, and Toadling has to contend with his curiosity.
This novella is a breezy, fun read. While I found myself invested in the characters in a short amount of time and would like to spend more time with them, I am similarly grateful that Kingfisher didn't belabor the story for the sake of it.
I previously read Nettle & Bone by Kingfisher, and was pleased to find a similar balance of sweetness & spookies in Thornhedge (greenteeth are a new one for me). I also enjoyed the way Kingfisher explored the themes of family, beauty, and kindness.
While this is a re-telling of Sleeping Beauty at its base, I would say the association is loose and the story and the themes extend well beyond the original framework. I think anyone interested in a quick, uplifting, enchanting story will enjoy this.
I received a digital review copy of this book via NetGalley.
What if that famous princess cursed to sleep in a tower was secluded away for good reason? This is the story of a monstrous beauty, a shy kindhearted heroine, and a charming prince in search of stories. As all good fairytales should, it has dark elements but it’s also reflective and sweet. The novella format really suits this story, any longer and it would lose that fairytale feeling. I really loved the characters of Toadling and Halim and the lore was so interesting, T. Kingfisher never disappoints
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Toadling has faithfully guarded over the tower for more years than she has cared to count. She protects the world from its hidden danger, and the world passes her by. Until, as fate and fairy tales would have it, a young knight happens upon the bramble patch. He came for the stories, for the damsel in need of rescue. Will he stay for the remarkable friendship he's found with Toadling?
T. Kingfisher just doesn't miss, and this reimagining of Sleeping Beauty is no exception. A wholly original twist on a familiar and beloved tale, full of the charming characters and delightfully weird magic I've come to expect from her stories.
You think you know, but you have no idea - A fresh take on sleeping beauty with this imaginative re-telling.
If you love fairytale retellings, this is a must-read perfect for both YA and adults. I loved T. Kingfisher's Nettle and Bone and was worried this may not live up - but it blew me away and kept me guessing about the ending all the way through.
We're following a fairy called Toadling who is tasked with watching the castle our 'sleeping beauty' rests in. The story is so descriptive that you can feel the leaves and thorns of the hedges closing around you as the story progresses. I don't want to say too much about what happens next, because T. Kingfisher starts flipping the story sideways almost as soon as we enter it, but the pacing is great and the journey is worth it.
Thank you to NetGalley and Tor Publishing for an advanced reader copy. With this book T. Kingfisher is becoming an automatic buy and read for me (and hopefully you too!)
This book is best read by a pond, with the sound of toads croaking and fish splashing.
I read this back-to-back with T. Kingfisher's other upcoming novel "A House With Good Bones" and have decided I'd like to read more from them.
Thornhedge was an engaging short read. Parts were slow, but the world building was super well done, and it was a really fun take on a Rapunzel retelling.
Another charming piece from T. Kingfisher, pulling on well known folktales to create something new to delight readers. Perfect for fans of Angela Carter, Holly Black, and Catherynne Valente!
Absolutely obsessed with this fairy tale retelling!! I was completely entrantsed with this!!
I just reviewed Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher. #NetGalley
What a fun little retelling! T. Kingfisher just does not miss! I loved to watch Toadling turn the story of Sleeping Beauty on its head. A very fun and very quick read
Thornhedge is a short but sweet reimagining of sleeping beauty, but with a more sinister twist. Toadling, our main character, guards a tower, and the sleeping princess within, for a very good reason.
I absolutely loved this story. My only complaint is that I wish this story were longer. The world-building, the characters, the magic...I want more!
Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for this honest review.
There is just something about T. Kingfisher's works that always draw me in. Ever since I read The Hollow Places, I have loved near everything from this author.
Thornhedge was no exception. This play on Sleeping Beauty was intriguing and so very good. This story was amazing with its subversion of tropes. I love the way she works with fairytales - they feel so real and fresh. She is someone that I trust to write and craft characters that I love.
This was the prefect length for this fairytale and I loved every minute of it!
Thank you to Netgalley and Tor for the arc!
A deeply imaginative and engaging retelling of Sleeping Beauty. I was hooked from the start, and read it all in one sitting.
ARC received by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
T, Kingfisher's takes on fairytales have become one of my favorite books. This one is another for the list of books that I have come to love. The characters were all understandable and I could see why they took the actions they did. I don't want to get into too much because this is a short story, and I don't want to spoil anything. The only thing I do wish this book had been longer. I would have loved to see more of these characters and their lives.
*The publisher provided me with an ARC of this novella in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Fairy tale retellings are all the rage these days, and no one does them better than T. Kingfisher.
A retelling of Sleeping Beauty that drastically deviates from its source material, Thornhedge is a delightfully dark novella that poses the question - what is Sleeping Beauty was put to sleep for good reasons? What results is a book that has many of the features that you would expect from a Sleeping Beauty retelling - a sleeping princess locked away in a tower, a strapping young prince trying to save her, a dangerous protective wall of thorns, and a kind fairy over-looking our fairy maiden. Readers quickly figure out, however, that this is not the traditional version of the story they have seen many times over.
The main character of Thornhedge is the fairy-being herself, Toadling. Toadling was a character that I was instantly drawn to, as she demonstrated by empathetic thoughtfulness and determined strength in a manner that felt genuine and lived in. The novella is written in a non-linear format in which we consistently jump back and forth between the modern day (where princes and knights are trying to save the princess) and Toadling's past, where we learn about the tragic events that have lead to the current "Sleeping Beauty in the tower situation". We feel every single on of Toadling's sacrifices, and the ethical choices that she doesn't want to make but is forced to make. As the novella unfurls, Kingfisher applies many layers to Toadling, as she tries to define her own strength in the world without losing all of her sweet humanity.
The non-linear nature of the novella also means that Kingfisher gets to insert all kinds of fun mysteries and twists into the narrative. It is clear from the get that not everything is at it appears, but Kingfisher doesn't reveal her hand until the perfect moments. Once everything is revealed, the plot kicks into overdrive as it excels to the novella's climax.
The pacing of this novella is on point, which is not always something that I can say about the format. Many novellas either feel like drawn out short stories or dramatically cut down novels, but Kingfisher utilized the novella's length to its benefit. The plot moves along at a great pace, always moving toward the next "reveal", while also finding time for the quieter character moments that lets their humanity shine in these of-dark circumstances. The ending is immensely satisfying, and I cannot honestly say (as a huge compliment) that I don't need anymore of Toadling or this particular world. Their story is told - its finished. Which, in the ever of the "Marvel Cinematic Universe" and "Franchise Fever" is quite refreshing.
The other major character is "the prince", Halim. I absolutely adored that Halim was not the stereotypical prince/knight figure, but also wasn't simply a stereotypical satire of that character archetype either. Instead, he was a man who doesn't quite enjoy the princely things, but always tries to do the right thing (like saving maidens from towers). There were also just other clever changes that brought him to life amongst the deluge of princes/knight figures in fantasy, even just the detail that he was Muslim and that a lot of his actions and thoughts were filtered through that particular lens.
The exact tone of this novel is hard to pin down. There is definitely a dark and sinister aura overlying the entire thing, and individual elements seep into the horror genre. Kingfisher also tackles several darker themes and ethical quandaries, from emotional abuse to feelings of not-belong, to murder and what essentially amounts to gaslighting. But there are also some cozier elements, moments of job and brightness; in particular, the interactions between Toadling and Halim can often verge on the thoughtful and philosophical, not so unlike Becky Chamber's Monk and Robot books. For T. Kingfisher fans, I would say it is not quite as dark as What Moves the Dead, but darker than Nettle and Bone. Thornhedge embraces the dark elements of fairy tales and their origins, but does not sacrifice the light elements to make some kind of "grimdark" nihilistic point about the world.
Whether you are a long time fan of T. Kingfisher or brand new to her works, this is a perfect novella for fairy tale fans.
Concluding Thoughts: Simultaneously sinister and sweet, Thornhedge subverts the traditional Sleeping Beauty story without feelings its only point of existence is to subvert. Toadling is a wonderful protagonist who is thoughtful and kind while also demonstrating temerity and strength. Readers will be transported for a short afternoon of quickly turning the pages to see what happens next. Definitely a novella fairy tale fans should check out.
This fairytale retelling was so beautiful. I absolutely adored Toadling. She may not be that magically gifted but she makes up for it with her kind heart. Halim was a breath of fresh air. A knight who isn’t all that great at being one, isn’t handsome, and follows mysteries he’s read in books. The two were absolutely perfect main characters for this story.
Thank you NetGalley and Tor Publishing Group for allowing me to read this in advance in exchange for an honest review.
This book cements it: I'm a T Kingfisher fan. It has fae that aren't pretty and are neither perfectly evil nor perfectly good. I'm really digging novellas and Thornhedge surpassed my expectations for the genre.
This is so adorable and lovely. Just a perfect fairy tale retelling- sweet, surprising, and magical. I loved the heroine, like all of Kingfisher's heroines, and her weird found family was pitch perfect.
I absolutely adored this. I've read several from this author, both in the fantasy and horror genres, and was expecting this to be quirky along the lines of Nettle and Bone, but it was deeply moving and sort of sad and and also sweet and very poignant and I loved it for that. A story of a Toadling human/other and the load she carries and a hesitant knight with a large heart, for want of a better way to phrase it right now. I'm going to sit with this one longer. But know that I adore it. I loved the characters, I loved the pacing, I loved that it was sweet and sad and Toadling was dealing with her internal self-image, which was so relatable. And I love novellas! This was such a great one. I feel like this was a version of the Sleepy Beauty retelling I've really not encountered before. I liked that the author mentioned a sensitivity reader in the acknowledgments for the character of Halim, which is something I'd wondered about, and this I appreciate. I'll be recommending this to others for sure. Full review to come.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance reader copy!
Toadling is not your princess in the fairytale. She is taken at birth by fairies and replaced with a changling. This changling is such a viscous child that no one can bare her. Don’t worry the princess will not get the prince, but he does meet our sweet Toadling.
T. Kingfisher has written another winning novella, this one taking the familiar tale of Sleeping Beauty and turning it in a truly delightful way to follow a very lonely fairy tasked with keeping the princess sleeping. Because the alternative would be a disaster...
Toadling's story is well worth reading, and the way in which the witty writing, incredible characters, and story catches you makes this an easy recommendation for fans of Kingfisher's previous work and for other lovers of shorter fantasy pieces.
I don't know what I was expecting with Thornhedge, but after reading other books by T. Kingfisher, I definitely was.not expecting this.
Thornhedge is a fairytale retelling of sleeping beauty. Only sleeping beauty is a sociopathic fae or demon? Unclear. Our heroine is probably one of the most interesting characters I've encountered recently.
I really enjoyed Kingfisher's world building. I can be someone who has a tough time with world building, as many authors leave too many loose ends and their stories don't add up. Not a problem here. From Toadling's origin story all the way through the end, it held my interest. I agree with Kingfisher that the story is sweet, even with animated corpses. I really hope she does more fairy tale novellas, as I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. And while Kingfisher IS one of my favorite authors, I'm going to try to be as objective as I can during this review. That said, however, Kingfisher is still a highly talented author, and her novella "Thornhedge" is a fascinating twist on the "Sleeping Beauty" mythos. Because while we've seen various versions of this story that make the wicked fairy heroic, this is the first I've seen that flips the tables entirely... and it's awesome.
Toadling was born human... but at birth she was swapped for a changeling, a fairy baby left in her place while she ended up raised by the fair folk herself. A goddess has charged her with watching over the changeling that took her place, and keeping a great harm from being done... but a bungled spell traps Toadling in the human world, watching over a tower surrounded by a great wall of thorns. When a knight arrives to break the curse and see what lies in the tower, Toadling must fulfil her duty to keep harm from being done... for some curses were never meant to be broken.
Novellas have to walk a fine line between character development, worldbuilding, and story -- it's not easy to adequately develop world, story, and characters with a limited page count. But Kingfisher manages this brilliantly -- Toadling's story is compelling and she's a wonderful character, and the knight that happens into the story is not your typical knight but is delightfully sweet and apologetic. The story is tightly knitted and plays out smoothly, taking a familiar story and adding new wrinkles and aspects, and while the setting feels like your usual European-based fantasy kingdom, it adds elements that help flesh out the world and the magic system.
Kingfisher argues in an author's note at the end of this story that she intended it to be "sweet," and despite some disturbing elements in the story (it's Kingfisher, she's fond of some macabre elements), it actually does fit that term. The story of Toadling's evolution as a character and her struggles to accomplish her mission are sweet to follow, and we're given a very sympathetic take on a character who's usually villainous (even "Maleficent" makes its title character more of a tragic villain than a hero). As for what Sleeping Beauty is like in this story... just read and find out.
"Thornhedge" is a fantastic novella, a great retelling of a familiar tale but also a fine fantasy story that stands well on its own. Kingfisher's fairy-tale retellings are magnificent, and deserve more recognition.
This was such a sweet, wonderful read.
Sweet in a dark and twisted way that only T. Kingfisher can achieve. It packs a punch in so few pages and I loved it. I'm usually not a fan of retellings but Kingfisher really hit the mark with endearing characters and turning the story in a way that feels fresh and unique.
I read this in one sitting and was not left wanting. It's rare to find a book that is solid from start to finish but maybe it's because it's so short.
Characters: 10/5 - I would die for Toadling and Halim, though I'm sure they'd apologise for troubling me.
T. Kingfisher maintains her position as an auto-buy author.
Thank you to Tor and Netgalley for this arc in exchange for an honest review
WOW. This novel proves the adage that mighty things come in small packages! The blurb of this book caught my attention immediately and I don't think that I have ever hit the request button so fast before. The world building and character descriptions in this book are fantastic, the attention to detail was perfect. I loved the story line and the twist/mashup of some familiar fairytale concepts. Toadling is the best unlikely hero, and will forever be one of my new fave MCs. The ending for me was bittersweet and I may have found myself a little teary eyed at the story came to an end. My only complaint, if you can even call it that is that I wish it had been a little longer.
In a forest, hidden by thorn bushes, there is a tower with a strange creature inside. Toadling has been alone for a very long time. She has watched from afar for hundreds of years as humanity changes, roads are built, kingdoms rise and fall, and she remains alone. But one day a knight comes looking for her tower. Halim is a strange kind of knight, the kind that doesn't really like violence or competing in tournaments. He read an old story about a tower and a sleeping maiden in need of salvation and he went looking for it. So when he meets the mysterious Toadling he does not know what to make of her, is she a cursed maiden in need of saving? Or is she the evil enchantress who is hiding something? As Toadling slowly reveals her story, the truth is stranger still and Halim is left with an impossible choice. Kingfisher tells a wonderful captivating tale that embodies the wonder of fairy tales but turns the premise on its head in a delightful fashion. Well written and compelling, this book is a quick read that is perfect for lovers of fairy tale inspired fantasy, and those who enjoy retellings of classic story lines.
An absolutely original retelling of Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of the fairy who cursed Sleeping Beauty. I love Kingfisher's unique take on this story. It is very engaging, and, because of the unique perspective, the reader has to keep reading in order to find out what happens. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes new twists on fairy tales. A+!
T. Kingfisher is one of those automatic read, buy, and recommend authors. Her skill is next to none with crafting quirky, charming fantasy tales that leave you thinking about the characters long after you've left their world. Naturally T. Kingfisher's unconventional take on Sleeping Beauty is no exception. Thornhedge is the story of Toadling, a human adopted by water fairies and taught to be a toad-shifter, who is asked to gift a blessing onto a newborn child...and let's just say things go a little south. I loved this novella, but at only around 130 pages I really want more Toadling in my life. I'd love a continuation of Toadling and Halim's adventures.
This was a cozy, quick read which gave me all the feel-goods. Thank you so much to Netgalley, T. Kingfisher, and Tor Publishing Group for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
The author’s note at the end really explains how I feel about this book: yes, the main character is raised by child-eating swamp monsters, but it was such a sweet book. So short though! The story felt very complete and I’m okay without knowing more about the world, but I would love to read this in maybe a collection of short stories? I adore Toadling, and I wish her all the best.
I was given this book in exchange for a review. Yay!
Thank you to Netgalley and Tor Publishing Group for sending me an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
T. Kingfisher is quickly becoming one of my favorite short-story authors. The way she can create beautiful worlds, interesting and unique plots, as well as relatable and developed characters in 150 pages or less will always leave me in awe.
Thornhedge is a Sleeping Beauty retelling with a bit of a dark twist. It follows Toadling; a human stolen away as a baby, raised and loved by fairies. Once an adult, the fae ask a favor of her; go back to the human world and bestow a blessing on a newborn child...however, this child is not exactly what she appears to be.
I loved this novella. The unique twist of a beloved fairytale with new lore was so refreshing and fun. This book is short, but the pacing was so balanced. Nothing felt rushed and too drawn out. I enjoyed the glimpse into Toadling's backstory and life, I adored her character.
Overall this story was so cozy and wholesome. I hope that the author decides to write another novella about these characters; I love to learn more about them, their world, and more of their story together.
Thornhedge releases on August 15th, 2023. I recommend reading it if you're a fan of fairytale retellings. It's short, sweet, and a nice palate cleanser in between bigger or more intense books.
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