Book Buzz Episode 16 – Thornhedge & The Story of Silence

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Air date: Sept. 24, 2023

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The Story of Silence

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Hi, this is Jessica Russell. I’m the assistant director of collection services at Sno-Isle Libraries. And welcome to Book Buzz.

Today's reading recommendations are both fantasies, but from very different worlds.

First, we’re going to hear from Lindsey, a librarian at the Mukilteo Library, who will take us into a land of fairies. Go ahead, Lindsey.


This is the tale of a toad-shaped fairy, a bookish knight, and a princess trapped in a tower. If you like fairy tales, you’re in for a treat with “Thornhedge” by T. Kingfisher.

Toadling was stolen by fairies as an infant. One of her gifts is that she can turn into a toad when she’s frightened or wants to move around unseen. Toadling is really the heart of this story, and you will fall in love with her as I did.

The fairies ask Toadling to offer a blessing of protection to a newborn princess.

The blessing goes horribly wrong, and the princess, Fayette, proves to be a sadistic and destructive child. To save the kingdom from Fayette, Toadling puts her to sleep, and stands sentinel at the thorny hedge surrounding the castle.

As you may have guessed, this is a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. As a fan of fairy tales, I’ve been looking forward to this book and it did not disappoint.

“Thornhedge” is reminiscent of Neil Gaiman’s stories. It’s dark and moody, but also wickedly funny. “Thornhedge” is a novella that is such a small treasure of a book. I didn’t want it to end, and I want to dive back into the world Kingfisher created.


Thanks, Lindsey. I’ve read 2 of T.Kingfisher’s other stories and loved them. I’m also a fan of fairytale retellings, so this sounds like a must-read for me!

Next, let’s dive into a medieval tale with Bridget, collection development librarian. Over to you, Bridget.


Escape to a world of knights and legend in Alex Myers’ “The Story of Silence,” a coming-of-age tale about a nonbinary knight. Based off a medieval French poem, this Arthurian tale follows Silence, a noble who is secreted away as a baby to be raised as a boy in a world where women cannot inherit titles.

As they grow, Silence must find their own place in a medieval world that is determined to place the many restrictions of gender and class upon them. Dreaming of knighthood and beset by loneliness in a strange world, Silence sets out to define themselves.

I found myself completely absorbed by Silence’s journey through medieval Europe and their life. All I wanted was for them to find joy and a sense of belonging.

This story is full of vibrant supporting characters, from the people who raised Silence to their foes, from royalty to roaming bards. Each character is intricately crafted, mirroring Silence's virtues while acknowledging the world's gender biases. Though many would shun Silence if they knew the truth, you can't help but love these characters.

This book is a great fit if you’d like to ease your way into fantasy novels or if you’re looking for one that’s a little more grounded.


Thanks, Bridget! This book is giving me Tamora Pierce vibes, and I love Tamora Pierce.

I can’t wait to pick this up!

Our recommendations this week are: “Thornhedge” by T. Kingfisher and “The Story of Silence” by Alex Myers.

Join us next time, when we’ll explore more great reading recommendations – interesting books you can find at your favorite local bookstore or at your local library.

Until then, I’m Jessica Russell from Sno-Isle Libraries.

Thanks for joining us for Book Buzz on KSER.

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