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Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay eARC {4 Stars}

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay tells the story of Sleeping Beauty’s daughter who is blessed with fairy gifts much MUCH different than her mother’s and must use them to win back her kingdom and save the world from a hundred years of darkness and suffering. Aurora, Ror, has gifts that include strength, dexterity, and mercy, making her a badass princess warrior! She also looks boyish enough that I was actually convinced of a girl-disguised-as-boy plot line :D. Besides Ror’s awesomeness, Princess of Thorns drew me in with a really beautiful and scary new fantasy world making me a little sad that this isn’t a series >.>. Companion book please???

Note: I received an advanced copy of Princess of Thorns from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay eARC {4 Stars}

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay
Published by Delacorte on Dec. 9th, 2014
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 400 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
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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?

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • I’ve always been worried that I wouldn’t like any Sleeping Beauty retelling because of my problems with the original tale, but I’m seriously impressed with how Princess of Thorns stays true to the original story while telling a story that YA readers can love. Princess of Thorns is also a cool new kind of retelling since it’s about Sleeping Beauty’s daughter instead of just borrowing a plot line from the tale. Win!
  • Aurora prefers to go by Ror and is my favorite kind of princess! She has way different fairy gifts than her mother and has trained in fighting her whole life. This makes her a physically strong warrior, but she is also emotionally strong and a bit stubborn ;-).
  • I must admit that I’m not as instantly in love with girl-dressed-as-boy plot lines as some of my reader friends, but I love how believable Princess of Thorns made this plot line. Ror is fairly flat-chested and boyish-looking, but still binds her chest, remembers to speak in a lower octave, and even makes sure she walks and holds herself the way boys tend to. She frequently has to go out of her way to make sure she keeps her secret, and it was these added inconveniences that made me actually believe that the men around her wouldn’t realize that she wasn’t a prepubescent boy. It’s all about the believability after all!
  • My favorite thing about Princess of Thorns by far, however, is the world-building. Instead of taking the easy way out by using our names for months and holidays, or typical fantasy critters for villains, Jay weaves a new and beautiful fantasy world with little details instead of info-dumping. I had to figure out through context what sort of holidays the characters were discussing or what time of year they were referring to and I honestly love that. I love figuring out how the world works slowly and Princess of Thorns excels at that.
  • The romance of Princess of Thorns is very much slow-burn and rather confusing for all involved given the whole girl-dressed-as-boy deception. The friendship that develops is sweet, and the dual point-of-view storytelling makes it all the more entertaining to watch Ror and Niklaas try to convince themselves they can’t stand the other ;-).
  • Princess of Thorns is a stand-alone! As I mentioned above, I’m a bit sad that I won’t have the opportunity to explore this beautiful world any more, but it is nice that the story is all tidy and wrapped up. I’ll definitely be reading whatever Jay writes next though :D.

Weaknesses:

  • There is a point in the middle of Princess of Thorns where I just didn’t feel like picking it up again because things get a bit slow. At 400 pages Princess of Thorns is a pretty long book for YA and I did feel that page length at times.
  • Ror does a lot of worrying about if/when she should tell Niklaas the truth and Niklaas has his own secrets that he hides for a long while. While I did understand the impulse to keep lying to each other, it honestly got frustrating at times since I wanted to just lock them in a room with each other >.>.
  • I still have questions about pieces of the world that we didn’t get to explore and I want to know everything! Can we have a spin-off companion novel that focuses on the witches please? They sound so cool!!

Summary:

Princess of Thorns is an excellent addition to the wonderful YA retellings trend and I highly recommend it for fantasy readers that like to really sink their teeth into a story. It gets a tad long, but the characters and world make it completely worth sticking with it. I haven’t even mentioned the crazy ogres that eat your soul, the giant trees that eat ogres, or the loooooong history the world has before humans even started playing with fire! You just have to read Princess of Thorns to experience this world and fall in love with Ror and Niklaas ;-).

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya

 

 Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. I was able to grab this one at the library, read through it pretty quickly, and…we didn’t click. I was kind of surprised. From all the reviews I’d read (yours included), I expected to really like Princess of Thorns, but no. I never really cared about either of the main characters or their romance or their curse problems. I wonder if the first person narration had something to do with it? Hmm…oh well. I’m glad you liked it! :)
    Kel @ Booked til Tuesday recently posted…Updates: Happy New Year!My Profile

    • Aw I’m sorry to hear that! I’ve been trying to figure out what it is about books that make them work for you so that I can recommend things more successfully ;-). Yeah, I could see first person being the thing, do you find that effects your enjoyment consistently?

  2. I’m really, really, really looking forward to reading Princess of Thorns! I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it when I first heard about it, but the rave reviews and the presence of some favorite tropes (including the girl dressed as boy one) are really winning me over. It sounds like an incredible, fairytale-inspired fantasy read!
    Alexa S. recently posted…The Perilous Sea – Sherry ThomasMy Profile

    • I honestly wasn’t initially drawn into the excitement either, but it is just such a solidly written fantasy world and great character dynamics! I’m quite glad I decided to give it a try ;-)

  3. WOW destroy the free will of the male she kisses????? INTERESTING.

    I’m glad you really liked this Anya, it kind of reminds me Eon with the slow-burn romance and the gender-bending. But I’m sad to hear it’s only going to be one book. AND YAY NO INFO DUMPING!

    *adds to TBR* :D
    Valerie recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #33My Profile

    • It’s so sad for her *cries* And this just reminds me how much I need to read Eon! *looks at it on the shelf* D:

  4. I have read few books by this author. But I have not heard of this one. Nice review.
    Savannah recently posted…Jesus Daily: 12 Days Of Christmas & Giveaway!My Profile

  5. Such grabby hands. I need a good Sleeping Beauty tale!
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: 2015 Releases We’re Excited ForMy Profile

  6. Whoop whoop YA fantasy standalone! You don’t see that everyday. I’m definitely one of those readers who instantly love the whole girl-dressed-as-a-boy thing…must be my love of Shakespeare. ;)
    Danya @ Fine Print recently posted…Monthly Recap: November 2014My Profile

  7. I read Princess of Thorns last week too! I thought it so could’ve been two books easily! I really liked both Ror and Nik and their relationship. I was also surprised that I bought the whole girl dressed as a boy thing! I wasn’t sold on the ending though, it felt too convenient, like the characters didn’t really do anything to contribute to their ending. (If that makes sense)
    Molly Mortensen recently posted…Princess of Thorns By Stacey JayMy Profile

    • Yey! Yeah, it could have been a duology easily, though it kind of felt like an adult fantasy length, which I can’t object to, haha. I get what you mean about the ending, though sometimes I feel like things have to happen that way since everything is too big for a single person to change much *is weird*

  8. I don’t know why I thought this was just a straight Sleeping Beauty retelling but I did. So I’m sort of excited that it’s about the daughter who happens to be a badass! It sounds I’d really enjoy the way the world is built and that romance sounds like it’s just the way I like my romances to develop :D

    Thanks for making me more excited to read this! Hopefully I can get it one day :)
    Bec @ Readers in Wonderland recently posted…Review: In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnisMy Profile

  9. I was looking for recs of fairytale retellings, and I’m so happy that I saw this review. This book sounds really great, and Ror sounds so cool! :D Going to keep my eyes out for this one. Great review, Anya!
    Ana @ Read Me Away recently posted…Review 127: Decked with Holly (Marni Bates)My Profile

  10. I’m about to finish rhis one and I really agree with a lot of what you said. I found the romance to be a great slowburn and I think it was because there was some character development that went with it. I’m also really feeling the length. It dragged at times and it took me a little bit to really get into it. I’m curious to see how it will all end being a standalone. I have about 80 pages to go and I still feel like the climax is nowhere in sight. But I can’t wait to finish! Great review.
    Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally recently posted…ARC Review: Exquisite Captive by Heather DemetriosMy Profile

  11. This sounds really intriguing! I had no idea it was a retelling, in fact, I didn’t have any clue about what it was at all, so I’m pleased I checked out your thoughts because you’ve just put a retelling on my radar, so good on you Anya! Thanks! :)
    Amanda @ Book Badger recently posted…Book Review – The Boy With The Hidden NameMy Profile

  12. Wait, wait, wait. Destroy the free will of any boy who kisses her? So, this is like the whole story of a Confessor from Wizard’s First Rule?
    Nathan (@reviewbarn) recently posted…Tough Travels – BugsMy Profile

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