Review: A Lesson in Thorns (Thornchapel #1) by Sierra Simone

I bought this ebook months ago, and for the life of me, I couldn’t remember why. The cover description was intriguing, but not my typical fare. It seemed a bit too throw-back Gothic for me. So, I glanced at a few online reviews, and one of them complained about bisexual characters.

Who cares why I initially bought it? That review sold me.

From the prologue alone, I knew this book would be something different. Simone’s use of language is stunning, elevating certain moments of the story to the realm of magical realism with its dreamlike evocatism. Poe is precisely the sort of flawed three-dimensional character I adore, and I fell in love with her as much as I fell for the rest of the Thornchapel Six. Each is unique and compelling in their own fashion, and Simone makes good use of third-person interludes to touch on the rest of the main characters despite the majority of the text being first-person from Poe’s perspective.

The climax (pun not intended) of the book seemed completely obvious as it drew inexorably closer, and yet Simone manages to upend expectations and still offer a satisfying conclusion that serves all the characters well, not just Poe. But be prepared to immediately want to launch into the next book because the end situations for each character are tantalizingly fragile, and I can’t wait to fall into the next adventure.

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Published by J.L. Gribble

Author, Editor, Worldbuilder

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