About the Book:
Title: Flower and Thorn
Author: Rati Mehrotra
Page Length: 352
Publication Date: Oct. 17, 2023
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Synopsis: One girl. One boy.
A promise broken.
A magic stolen.
Irinya has wanted to be a flower hunter ever since her mother disappeared into the mysterious mist of the Rann salt flats one night. Now seventeen, Irinya uses her knowledge of magical flowers to help her caravan survive in the harsh desert. When her handsome hunting partner and childhood friend finds a priceless silver spider lily–said to be able to tear down kingdoms and defeat an entire army–Irinya knows this is their chance for a better life.
Until Irinya is tricked by an attractive imposter.
Irinya’s fight to recover the priceless flower and to fix what she’s done takes her on a dangerous journey, one she’s not sure she’ll survive. She has no choice but to endure it if she hopes to return home and mend the broken heart of the boy she’s left behind.
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Flower and Thorn is a unique historical fantasy with an immersive setting, great protagonists, and a fascinating magic system. Set in 16th-century India, it’s a fascinating world where flowers are rare and have magical properties. Healing, manipulations, and more, all flowers are rare and coveted, and flower hunter Irinya and her friend find one of the rarest and most precious flowers of all. However, when a stranger visits, and the flower goes missing, jeopardizing the future of her people, a guilty Irinya decides to go after the person who took it.
I thought the setting was so immersive and vivid, and I liked how the author transported me into a fictionalized 16th-century India. With political unrest, threats to her people, and more, the setting is as deadly as it is beautiful. From dry, desolate, and sandy terrain to lush and extravagant palaces and bustling cities, the settings contrasted each other well and highlighted the social and economic differences among the classes.
Irinya was another strength of the story. She’s such an interesting and relatable protagonist, and she grows so much throughout her journey. Irinya is very naïve, and she makes a lot of mistakes, which I totally understood. An orphan following in her flower-hunter mother’s footsteps, Irinya takes on a lot of responsibility and puts a lot of pressure on herself. She also doesn’t always think before acting or speaking, which causes her a lot of problems. I always enjoy books like this, where the main character goes on a physical journey as well as an emotional one, and she does just that.
There is a bit of a love story, though it is not the focus of the book. As much as I generally like a swoon-worthy romance, I like that it took a backseat in this story. This is more about Irinya’s journey and growth, not her romantic life. Also, it did seem like there was a love triangle, but it was pretty subtle and obvious who Irinya cared for. I feel like these relationships further highlighted Irinya’s growth and change over the course of the story, as she acknowledges her mistakes and becomes very aware of her true feelings.
This is an interesting and immersive standalone novel. There’s intrigue, adventure, court politics, magic, a sweet friends-to-lovers romance, and several unexpected allies. There are some characters that I wished were fleshed out a bit more, as well as some parts of the plot, but overall it was an enjoyable read. Special thanks to Wednesday Books for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
- The world-building.
- The magical elements.
May you find water and rest in the garden of Death.
- friends to lovers
- morally gray characters