Review: Flower and Thorn by Rati Mehrotra

Flower and Thorn by Rati Mehrotra cover shows a tall cluster of flowers in the center.

Flower and Thorn
Rati Mehrotra
Wednesday Books
Published October 17, 2023

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Flower and Thorn

One girl. One boy.
A promise broken.
A magic stolen.

Irinya has wanted to be a flower hunter ever since her mother disappeared into the mysterious mist of the Rann salt flats one night. Now seventeen, Irinya uses her knowledge of magical flowers to help her caravan survive in the harsh desert. When her handsome hunting partner and childhood friend finds a priceless silver spider lily–said to be able to tear down kingdoms and defeat an entire army–Irinya knows this is their chance for a better life.

Until Irinya is tricked by an attractive imposter.

Irinya’s fight to recover the priceless flower and to fix what she’s done takes her on a dangerous journey, one she’s not sure she’ll survive. She has no choice but to endure it if she hopes to return home and mend the broken heart of the boy she’s left behind.

Flower and Thorn on Goodreads

My Review

One of the things I’ve learned about myself as a reader lately is that I struggle with long chapters. Chapter length isn’t something I usually know about a book before I start reading. Some books genuinely need longer chapters because of how they’re structured. This one is one of those. But, because I am a reader who struggles with long chapters, it took me a long time to feel like I hit my stride with this book.

Once I did, though, I was completely hooked. Like, I enjoyed the story from the early scenes, but it felt like it was taking a long time to read, and I kept having to stop mid-chapter, which really threw me off when I started reading again the next time.

I loved the story’s setting. It’s set in India at a time when the country is besieged by the Portuguese. The characters hope to use magic flowers as a weapon in the war, and hope to keep their existence secret from the invaders, though it isn’t clear if they can.

The story has some commentary on markets and unfair systems, particularly those that marginalize nomad communities. I thought the commentary on that was thoughtful and well-integrated into the story. Irinya hopes to help her people find a way to sell the magic flowers for a fair price, as opposed to the current system, in which a few powerful, wealthy individuals control the system.

I really liked Irinya’s character. She’s stubborn, willful, and deeply loyal to her people. She’s fierce and brave. Definitely my kind of heroine.


Definitely by the 20 or 25% mark, I was deeply invested in the story and needed to know what really happened with the mysterious stranger who’d promised the world to Irinya and the deep betrayal between her and her best friend, Fardan. I’m super glad I read this book, and I’m eager for more by this author. I really enjoyed her debut, NIGHT OF THE RAVEN, DAWN OF THE DOVE, as well.

Flower and Thorn on Bookshop

Content Notes for Flower and Thorn

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Characters are Indian.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Two women are in a romantic relationship. Kissing between boy and girl.

Spiritual Content
Some flowers have magic abilities to heal or travel through time or space. Irinya can hear the flowers speaking to her.

Violent Content
Situations of peril. Irinya sees a person killed by deadly wasp stings. Several characters engage in battle with swords and other weapons. Some are fatally injured. Irinya uses a blowpipe with poison thorns as a weapon. Thugs kill a man with a knife. A woman hits someone with a cooking pot in a battle.

Drug Content
References to alcoholic drinks.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of FLOWER AND THORN in exchange for my honest review.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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