Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay
eARC, 402 pages
Published by Delacorte Press
Expected Publication Date: December 9, 2014
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Synopsis: 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?
Absolutely fantastic. Filled with all the fairy-tale goodness you've enjoyed as a child without it being overly-cheesy. It's focused on Aurora's (Sleeping Beauty) daughter that is basically the non-Chinese Mulan and her quest to save her brother and her kingdom. There is action, adventure, fantasy, love--this book has everything. I wasn't hooked from the beginning but I quickly got into the story and the characters. There are little cameos of other beloved fairy tale characters. I have to say that my favorite part of the whole book is the witty and hilarious dialogue between Ror and Niklaas. If you like Disney movies but want more of an adult twist, I definitely suggest reading this book.
1) This book is extremely well-written. The language is witty, funny, romantic and embodies that old fairy-tale telling charm. In all of the descriptions of the world, the characters internal thoughts and dialogue I was mesmerized.
2) The characters have a real depth to them. No one is straight up good or bad. Their characters all have interesting backstories that are well developed and intertwine with all of the other character's stories.
3) I like how many feminist messages are in this book. For me, the last place I would expect these type of messages would be in a fairy-tale style book. It shows many struggles and superficial views that women have to put up from men and society today.
4) I love the allusions to other fairy-tale stories such as the Six Swans (Brothers Grimm) aka The Wild Swans (Hans Christen Anderson), Rapunzel, and Little Red Riding Hood. All of them have a new twist to the original stories though.
5) I absolutely adore Niklass. I think he's hilarious and charming. Even through his misguided misogynistic views (which don't worry it doesn't last long), I love him.
1) Even though the author put so much work into the plot with all of it's details, descriptions, and characters the end kind of crapped out. It was very rushed and melodramatic. It just didn't fit with the rest of the story. I wanted to give it another half star but I couldn't because of the ending. It felt that the author worked so hard on the rest of the book that when she came to the end she was unsure of herself and hastily did ended it. The book fought against most of the clichés that have come to pass with these popular fairy tale retellings but the end of the book brings it all right back to those overly cheesy moments that are commonplace.
1a) Another problem that I had with the end of the story was the chase scene between the main couple that is extremely overdramatic and cliché. It's the kind of chase scene that are famous in rom-com movies. It was so predictable too. In fact that while reading it, I envisioned how it would end down to the trick Aurora does with her horse (I'm trying not to spoil anything, but those of you have read it will know what I'm talking about).
2) I got tired of how much Ror was lying to Niklaas. In the beginning it makes sense, she doesn't know him, she can't trust him, etc. After a while it becomes the main thing that is moving the plot forward. Her lies keep piling up and obviously they were going to have to come out but I thought the author could have found something else to move the plot forward.
2a) Another problem I had with Ror and Niklaas is how much time they spent discussing and thinking of reasons as to why they couldn't be together. They both loved each other but kept coming up with excuses. It was fine at first but became annoying really quickly. Especially when Niklaas tries denying his feelings but saying he had "sisterly" feelings towards her. Yuck.
3) It's a pretty slow read. Not The Hobbit slow but similar. The audience gets a lot of details on minor characters (most of them do tie into the main plot nicely) and the character's surroundings but some of it dragged the pace of the story down.
4) I rarely talk about the covers of books (because you can't judge a book by its cover) but I hate it. It makes it look like a cheesy romance novel. Something either written by Danielle Steel or Nora Roberts.
1) "I'm as sore as a newlywed's nether," he says, thankfully letting the matter drop. "Feel like I've been beaten between the legs with a rolling pin. Which, sadly enough, actually happened to my sorry self upon one occasion."
"Really?" I fall in behind him as he takes off into the trees, down a gentle hill.
"Really." He sighs. "One morning, not long ago, a baker off the coast of Eno City got up to set his loaves cooking and caught me asleep by the fire with his daughter."
"Whose loaves you'd set cooking the night before."
2) "I realize what he intends to do, but before I can turn my back, his pants slide off his hips, and Niklaas, eleventh son of the immortal king, is as naked as the day he was born.
I freeze--jaw dropping, blood draining from my face--unable to tear my eyes away, though I know I should. But, warrior's clothes be damed, I'm a seventeen-year-old girl, and what seventeen-year-old girl could look away from a sight like that?"
3) "You can trust me."
"Said the spider to the fly."
"I'm not a spider."
4) "I will not remember her as a corpse. I will remember her smile and the way her eyes danced when she built castles of pillows for Jor and me on days when it was too cold to go outside. I will remember her stories and songs and the way she never let a day go by without whispering 'I love you' in my ear. I will remember the flower smell of her clothes when she hugged me tight and her laughter when we would sneak out to dance in the rain without Jor, because rain dancing was our secret."