The Price of Thorns

We rated this book:


The Price of Thorns became an instant classic for me the second I finished reading it. As a lifelong lover of the fantastic, there’s nothing I enjoy more than getting lost in a beautifully constructed world with a diverse cast of interesting characters. Susman has delivered all that and more, with richly detailed mythos that frankly blew me away with its complexity, depth, and fully realized heroes whose flaws make them entirely relatable while their strengths and deeds border the archetypal.

The story begins with Nivvy, a young thief who has been ousted from their guild, strapped to what amounts to the village rack after being caught plying their trade. While getting pelted with rocks and refuse, a strange woman wearing clothes that went out of style hundreds of years ago offers him his freedom in return for completing a job. Only after he agrees does she reveal that the job involves stealing an entire kingdom, her long-lost kingdom, in fact.

With dreams of redemption and wealth on his mind, Nivvy wholeheartedly (and a bit recklessly) throws himself into the crownless queen’s quest. But the enigmatic Bella has ulterior motives and savage secrets that could change the very essence of not only Nivvy’s existence but that of the entire world.

A large part of what makes this particular world so enchanting is that it is powered by stories. The stories of magical objects activate their latent powers, the stories of travelers pay their way on their journeys, and the stories the characters tell themselves mold and shape their realities both individually and collectively. It’s a fascinating and beautiful way to incorporate magic into worldbuilding, and with the inclusion of a prominent trans character, the implications about the power in the stories we tell ourselves bring a particularly hopeful potency to the story arc.

Susman’s writing style is vivid and effervescent, making the over five-hundred-page novel seemingly readable in the blink of an eye. The quick progression of the plot is perfect for a fantasy adventure, but Susman certainly doesn’t skimp on the deeply introspective moments necessary to create a full-fledged hero’s journey. Deep while remaining playful, and hopeful while relating injustice, The Price of Thorns perfectly walks the line between charming and impactful.

Perfect for fans of TJ Klune and Josh Winning, those looking for a wider distribution of representation in their heroes, or anyone who needs a dose of classic fairy tale inspiration with their monomythic adventure will adore this gem of a novel.

Reviewed By:

Author Tim Susman
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 508 pages
Publisher Argyll Productions
Publish Date 14-Nov-2023
ISBN 9781614505808 Buy this Book
Issue November 2023
Category Science Fiction & Fantasy