An intriguing start to a promising fantasy trilogy
Thornfruit is the first book in a trilogy, so be prepared not to get all the answers by the time you turn the last page. Be prepared to want to keep reading, too.
Ev and Alizhan first meet as kids, at the market where Ev is helping her father. Alizhan looks lost and hungry and Ev gives her a handful of thornfruit, and over the years, as they meet again and again at the same market, some sort of friendship grows even as the mystery of who Alizhan is remains. Ten years later, when she comes to Ev for help, the young woman doesn’t hesitate.
The worldbuilding is amazing. There are so many ideas and tiny details that make it what it is, it’s at once disorienting (a sun that never sets, a world in which magic is everywhere despite being fought…) and self-evident, it quickly feels as familiar as it is to the characters while being full of surprises.
So is the story. The people of Laalvur think they know what’s happening in their lives and don’t realize their memories may not be accurate. Those who seem to be on the right side may not be and there may be more to the villains than meets the eye. Even Alizhan’s ability to read minds isn’t foolproof. The journey she and Ev embark on is fraught with dangers from all sides.
There’s so much I’m not saying that makes this story really exciting and engrossing but part of the enjoyment is discovering all these things (Alizhan’s powers and curse, for example) and I won’t spoil that for you. All I’ll add is that there’s a very slow-burn romance arc, that I like the cover of this book and the following two very much, and that I’ll keep reading so keep an eye out for reviews of Nightvine and Shadebloom. 4 stars.