Game of Thrones meets the Grimm’s fairy tales in this twisted, fast-paced romantic fantasy-adventure about Sleeping Beauty’s daughter, a warrior princess who must fight to reclaim her throne.
Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora’s throne ten years ago.
Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it’s too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love?
Description taken from Goodreads. I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own. This book will be published on December 9th, 2014.
I’ve heard everything about this book from “it’s the worst thing I’ve ever read” to “it’s stunningly beautiful and amazing and surprising and flails and feels”.
Honestly, overall I did enjoy this story. There’s a lot to be loved, but there were also many things I had pretty mixed feelings about. One thing I did love was the sheer satire and sweetness behind Niklaas and Aurora’s relationship. I mean–Niklaas thinks that Aurora is her brother, Jor, for most of the book. And “Jor”, inevitably, spends most of the book hearing about Niklaas’s plan to marry Aurora so that he can save himself and his brothers from a terrible fate. Aurora, understandably, is kind of disturbed about all this and nods along while thinking to herself that she will never marry him because
- he has terrible logic and he’s marrying her for his own gain (assuming she will run into his arms the second he sees her) and
- she takes away the will of anyone she kisses.
As time goes on, Aurora in disguise and Niklaas develop a pretty great friendship and that develops into love. Of course, Niklaas is mad. A thing I really appreciated about him though is how thoughtful and calm he is. He thinks things through (except in matters of love, it seems) and he applies that to every aspect of his life. This is extremely refreshing as the amount of fictional girls and boys in YA who grossly overreact to everything only seems to be growing.
Besides the humor, there were plot points that I didn’t love. For one thing, Jay jumps between things a little bit. There’s world-building, but not nearly enough for a well-developed fantasy. Things especially start going bad for the plot when it comes down to the ending. Quite frankly, I was confused for most of it. There were a lot of things I was unsure of. Maybe I need to reread it? I don’t know. I just didn’t understand certain transitions.
Other than the plot, the ending (how I seem to understand it, anyway) is great. I think everything ties together well and this is a stand-alone. Thank you, Stacey Jay. Thank you so very much. I’ve really begun to appreciate a good stand-alone this year, and PRINCESS OF THORNS IS NO EXCEPTION.
A note on the backstory: beginning opens up really well. It’s a great hook, but uhmm–Aurora’s dad slept with Aurora’s mom when he was married.
Overall, PRINCESS OF THORNS was a great read. It wasn’t my favorite high fantasy of this year, or any year really, but it was still enjoyable and I thought that it was a pretty good retelling. Hard-core fans of going straightup with the plot on retellings (not really incorporating any plot points that deviate from the framework of the retelling) probably will not like this story. Otherwise, I would recommend it for those of you who truly are hardcore fans of Sleeping Beauty. Some of my favorite retellings have come from Gail Carson Levine, Marissa Meyer and Alex Flinn. 3 stars.
Thanks to Random House Children’s for the chance to read and review this book!
pg count for the hardback: 400