Book Review | Bitterthorn by Kat Dunn

Thank you to Andersen Press and NetGalley for providing me an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

Bitterthorn by Kat Dunn is an eerily beautiful twisted fairytale set in 1871. This book is part gothic romance and part YA fantasy featuring a torturously sweet queer romance.

“I had sown the seeds of love in grave dirt; who could say what monstrous bloom would grow?”

Blumwald is cursed. Once every 50 years the wicked and unrelenting Witch, that enhabits the sinister castle overshadowing the town, seeks to claim a companion. Once bonded with the witch they must return with her into the depths of the woods never to return. The purpose of this sacrifice is unknown, however, the cowering townsfolk fear her wrath and speculate wildly nonetheless.

Nina, the daughter of the Duke, is lonely. The death of her mother has made her a ghost in her own home. She is overlooked, unwelcomed and unloved. She offers herself to the Witch in a moment of desperation. At first, she feels exhilarated, as if her life finally has a purpose, however, she soon discovers the true cost of her sacrifice and unravels a series of terrible secrets that threaten everything she holds dear.

We meet a handful of characters that are deeply flawed and a little bit broken, however, this makes them incredibly endearing. There are secrets upon secrets hidden deep in the crumbling walls of the Witch’s castle and I loved how they were carefully unearthed. The Witch herself is so tragically endearing; a tortured and untrustworthy soul that I adored.

The pages flow effortlessly with dreamy imagery and a delicate air of melancholy. I loved everything about this book. I read Bitterthorn in just a few hours. I simply couldn’t put it down. I was completely enamored with Dunn’s way with words. I look forward immensely to seeing the finished cover art and will be purchasing a physical copy as soon as it’s on sale early next year.

Bitterthorn by Kat Dunn will be released on May 4, 2023 and is available to pre-order HERE.