The Thorning Ceremony, 5/5
Author Information: Andrew Einspruch, an author of the 20th and 21st centuries, writes and has published over 120 children's and middle aged books. Every book's topic varies; he has written alternative-universe fantasy, non-fiction about DNA, basketball, the Australian government, Australian heroes, and Christmastime stories. He is an advocate for all species and is a co-founder of the non-profit charity "Deep Peace Trust."
Book Number: 0.75 of 3
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Humour
Summary: The only thing left is rigorous training from the Thorning Master and surviving the Thorning Ceremony. Princess Eloise Hydra Gumball III is going to be the Future Ruler and Heir of The Western Lands and All That Really Matters if she can complete these tasks. Added onto the stress of having to thorn herself, her sister is desperate to take her place.
Initial Impressions: This is my last book of Einspruch's to review, and I think that is a shame. I have loved his stories so far; they are lighthearted, funny, and full of passion. My only problem with any of them is the length; I feel like 500 pages of silliness at once makes it difficult to stay engaged. Fortunately, The Thorning Ceremony is short, meaning I can practically give it five stars now and walk away. I am excited to start reading!
Halfway-Through Notes: I am now halfway-through The Thorning Ceremony and am, once again, impressed. Einspruch clearly knows what he is doing; the writing flows, the conflict is unique and fun, and the buildup to the climax is slow but evident. I am enjoying my reading! My thoughts about the length seem to be correct, so far: this book is exactly the right size for this genre. I can't wait to see how Eloise's attitude towards the Thorning Ceremony is dealt with and how Johanna overcomes her feelings!
Opinions: This was a weird idea turned exciting! Inserting thorns into your body just for tradition. I wasn't too sure about it at first, and I am not keen on the idea, but Einspruch was able to make the whole experience captivating and dramatic. Eloise and her sister, Johanna, are forced to comply with anything their trainer tells them to do while they practice thorning themselves and trying to not pass out. I enjoyed The Thorning Ceremony because it was short, simple, and a lot of fun. The humour was the same, the characters were just as unique and consistent, and the themes were represented well. I also enjoyed the ending because it flowed perfectly into The Purple Haze, the first book of the series. This might be my favourite book of The Western Lands and All That Really Matters series!
My Least Favourite Thing: Honestly, there was nothing I disliked about The Thorning Ceremony. Anything negative feelings I've had towards the previous books have faded! The length was perfect, the chapters were subjective and ordered, and the amount of characters in one scene was minimal and therefore understandable. Einspruch has, in my eyes, made improvements as he gains experience as a writer, and he deserved his first five-star rating from me!
Total Rating: PG
Setting: The Western Lands (imaginary)
Adult Content: PG
Violence: PG-12 (characters are described inserting thorns into themselves)
Recommended For and Similar Reads: The Thorning Ceremony reminded me of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" for its themes regarding the necessity of some traditions. What purpose did thorning yourself truly serve? Otherwise, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Shadow and Bone come to mind because of the dare-I-say "strange" plot prompts. In general, if you are tired of the formulaic, cliche, cookie-cutter YA novel, this is for you! The Purple Haze (book one), The Star of Whatever (book two), and The Light Bearer (book three) are perfect breaks from the silly romances and high school dramas.
Publisher: Wild Pure Heart
Publication Date: 12 March, 2019
Per FTC regulations, please know that I received this title for free for review from the original author, the publisher, publicist, or a third party. I am honest in my reviews, meaning the fact I received the book for free does not alter the rating I give it.