I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.
Publisher: Titan Books
Published: June 2022
Asher Todd comes to live with the mysterious Morwood family as a governess to their children. Asher knows little about being a governess but she is skilled in botany and herbcraft, and perhaps more than that. And she has secrets of her own, dark and terrible – and Morwood is a house that eats secrets. With a monstrous revenge in mind, Asher plans to make it choke.
However, she becomes fond of her charges, of the people of the Tarn, and she begins to wonder if she will be able to execute her plan – and who will suffer most if she does. But as the ghosts of her past become harder to control, Asher realises she has no choice.
Dark magic, retribution and twisted family secrets combine to weave a bewitching and beautifully written gothic fairy tale.
Well, A.G. Slatter has done it again! After enchanting me with the gorgeous All the Murmuring Bones, she kept me glued to the dark and twisty Path of Thorns. I was fairly sure I would enjoy this one, and I was right!
Asher Todd is a fantastic main character. She is smart, capable, full of secrets… and out for revenge. But she was also wonderfully complex and moving in the morally grey space that I find fits the gothic setting so perfectly. This book also had basically all the elements I love: there is witchcraft (dark one, too), there are ghosts and other creatures of lore, there are family secrets, and there is murder. Lots of murder, actually. I kept turning the pages waiting for all the secrets to come to light, and they were each more delicious than the one before.
The setting was beautifully atmospheric and perfectly gothic. There are some horror elements, but not too much, so I’d define this as creepy more than outright scary. It does get pretty dark though, so be mindful if that’s a concern for you. There’s also quite a lot of injustice and sexism going around, as well as some abuse and very, very complicated relationships, so again be mindful if that’s triggering for you.
The only part I wasn’t too sold on was the romance, but it took up such a small part of the story that it actually didn’t bother me all that much in the end. The rest of the relationships between the various characters were really masterfully drawn up, as each displayed their complexity to the fullest, as well as the darkness that can hide within. Several themes were running underneath the main storyline and helped to make this so much more than just another gothic fairytale.
Overall, The Path of Thorns is a perfect spooky season read, with its eerie vibes and gothic setting, perfect for lovers of fantasy and dark fairytales.
This book contains mentions of abuse (domestic and parental), murder, abortion, necromancy, animal cruelty, blood, infidelity.