Series: The Chronicles of Kaya #2
Published by Random House Australia on February 1st 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
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Continuing the epic romantic fantasy series that began with Avery, Thorne is a story of courage, sacrifice, and forbidden love. Lovers in Kaya have always died together, bonded in death as in life. But rumors of a cure are rife. A team of young Kayans will be sent on a quest to find the answer—for the very nature of love is at stake.
The beautiful but reckless Finn has never shied away from danger, and ending the bond means more to her than anyone knows. This adventure sounds thrilling, but Finn has always been willing to risk too much, and for the first time she has something—or someone—to lose.
Crown Prince Thorne, in the neighboring land of Pirenti, has grown up rejecting the legacy of his father’s blood, keeping caged the beast that lies dormant within. But the moment he sets eyes on the wild girl from the Kayan cliffs, his usual caution is thrown to the wind. As the world crumbles around them, can Finn and Thorne cast off the shadows to find a love stronger than either imagined? Or is their true challenge to embrace the darkness within?
Two nations, a fragile peace treaty, a reluctant prince, and a young group of adventurers… The story Charlotte McConaghy started in Avery continues eighteen years later, with all the action, romance and brilliant storytelling of the first book.
I invited Tracy, friend-of-the-Treetops, to help me with a joint review after we discovered we were reading it at the same time.
This review is spoiler-free, even for Avery. Since the events take place so long after the first book, you could read Thorne without having read the first book. All you need to know is that there is a magical soul-bond between Kayan couples, and when one dies, the other must also die. Ava is the only Kayan to have survived becoming a half-walker, after the death of her bondmate.
Angelya: Thanks for joining me, Tracy! So what did you think of Thorne?
Tracy: This second instalment seemed like a good change-up from the first book. It is almost 20 years later but the main characters are very much alive and present in this story. We were still given two strong characters who couldn’t deny their pull towards one another but made each other crazy. I thought the main characters were very well defined with very different personalities and voices and the secondary characters were as well. Their role and interactions helped to define the main characters without being obvious about it, which I thought was well done on the author’s part.
A: Another thing this book did so well was keep the action rolling along. Between the nail-biting scenes and the sexual tension, I had a lot of trouble putting this book down. I nearly missed my stop on the train on more than one occasion! It made me wonder if this series has been optioned for film or tv at all, because I think it would make an amazing series. I loved the quest-journey-evil lair-redemption path of the story.
T: The quest was a fun element and I like how it took them out of the areas they were all familiar with. I super-loved the trial/course they had to go through as a group to be considered for the quest. The tension was built so well and I felt like the characters ran the gamut of emotions and physical feats during such a small part of the book. It was done so well! I’m a sucker for any ‘game’ type stuff like this! Plus, while I often dislike movies and tv programs that are based on books (because books are absolute magic) I could see this being a great story to fit that type of medium.
A: So, the romance – I’m just going to come right out flailing and say that the romance in this book (and in Avery, for that matter) is TOTALLY SWOON WORTHY.
T: The romance is to die for!!! In both books. I love the trope of two people who are kind of antagonistic towards one another and at odds with each other, either by sheer force of personality or because of outside influences, like being from Pirenti and Kaya.
A: Yes! Although if they met and were perfect for each other immediately it wouldn’t be much of a story, would it? I do think there was an element of insta-love in this one though – it just took each of them time to come around to the idea because they were too full of self-loathing and couldn’t see why the other would be interested.
T: I think some of the romantic bits were a bit more rushed in Thorne than in Avery. It bothered me some, but not overly. In Avery, a lot of the romantic build up and sexual tension takes place in a rather large chunk of the book that is primarily focused on Ambrose and Ava. So the reader is inundated with it and other characters are minor pieces of the puzzle. That changes a lot in Thorne when you introduce several other main characters that impact Thorne and Finn’s solo time together in terms of quantity and quality. I tend to prefer a book’s build up and steamy moments drawn out a bit more. I wouldn’t say this overly bothered me in this book but it was noticeable.
A: You’re right, there were only tiny chunks where they could be alone together, and they were interrupted ALL THE BLOODY TIME and then the story just continued along as if they hadn’t just been about to jump each other. It all felt a little abrupt at times. Still… the stolen moments were hot!
T: Finn always messing with and bugging Thorne made me so happy. Not her straight up wishy-washy-ness about some things but the teasing about him being boring and a stick in the mud and on and on. Maybe because I can relate personally. I am high energy crazy all the time and my man is the polar opposite. He is much more reserved and I’m always poking him to lighten up. On the flip side of that, I liked how Thorne’s presence and demeanour eventually calmed the storms raging inside of Finn so she could relax mentally and physically every once in awhile.
A: Finn did change a lot over the course of this book, didn’t she? I liked how both she and Thorne hated the fact that he was forced to be violent. That’s something we don’t often get in YA fantasy these days. Most heroes seem to be like, “Okay, need to do some stabby stabby, no problem. Hack off a head there, let’s do it!”. In this one, there was a reason for the violence, but it was very reluctant and they took steps to prevent it from happening in the future. I liked that.
T: I completely agree! The violence aspect did play out differently from normal books of this kind. I typically have no problem with violence (with a few exceptions, certain types freak me out) and enjoy all the stabbiness but it was a nice departure from what typically happens since it can be so widely overused these days. I liked how these characters struggled with it. Reminds me of Elias from An Ember in the Ashes.
A: I am loving this series for its exploration of true love and grief. Characters with real emotional journeys are such a huge part of making a fantasy series epic, and this author does an amazing job of that!
The third book in the trilogy, Isadora, has now been released. If you love YA Fantasy with plenty of emotional drama and swoony romance, this trilogy is for you!