December 2, 2014

Latest Read: Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay
Publication date: Dec. 9, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Category: Young Adult - Fantasy
Source: Received from publisher via Netgalley (Thanks!)
Summary: This is a 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? (Adapted goodreads.com)

The good
Princess of Thorns is the perfect example of a standalone fantasy novel with amazing characters, the right pacing, solid world building and balances adventure, romance, humor and drama seamlessly. It's hard enough doing that over the course of a series, so the fact that the author manages to do this in 400 pages is pretty outstanding. And I guarantee you will fly through those pages. I definitely did. Princess of Thorns is about Sleeping Beauty's daughter and shows us that the happily ever after wasn't quite so happy. Tragedy befalls Beauty and her two children and it's her daughter Aurora that we follow through this story. Aurora is a fairy-blessed mortal girl with enhanced strength, mercy, bravery and cursed to take the will of any man who kisses her. She's determined to reclaim her rightful place as Queen from the evil ogres who destroyed her family and kidnapped her brother Jor. But she knows she can't do this alone. She's trying to build an army when she comes across Prince Niklaas and enlists his help. Or rather he finds her because he wants to marry Aurora. Except, thanks to her warrior gear, he thinks she's her brother Jor and she lets him believe that as they join forces and begin this journey together.

Aurora is your quintessential fantasy heroine. Strong, determined, loyal. But my favorite qualities about her may be the fact that she's stubborn as hell, doesn't believe that women should have any societal limitations placed on them — which is clear in her words and actions — and her sass. She believes in her abilities and will do whatever it takes to save her brother and the kingdom. Niklaas, on the other hand, is probably your quintessential prince. At first glance. He's handsome, a good fighter and arrogant. But the author gives him plenty of his own chapters to show us more beneath the surface. He's actually the son of a dreadful king who cursed him and all his brothers to a terrible fate and devoted to keeping his younger sister safe. He's a good man and I loved getting to know him, along with Aurora, as the story progressed. 

The initial antagonism and banter between Aurora (posing as Jor and later as herself) with Niklaas was what brought the humor into the book and I'd be lying if I didn't say that their relationship was the biggest highlight of the book. For a good portion of the plot, Niklaas doesn't know who Aurora really is since she's pretending to her brother "Ror" so they're just two guys traveling on the road together. Which means they become friends first. Well, okay Niklaas thinks Ror is a pain in the ass and she thinks he's an insufferable man-whore who brags about his ability to charm the ladies. But soon a mutual respect, admiration and friendship builds between them. And on Aurora's side, an attraction she tries to fight. But as can be expected, she can only keep up the secret for so long and once they're truly themselves, there's a lot of swooning (kisses!) and laughing (the arguing banter!) to be done. 

(No) reservations
I loved it as is. I was a little curious about Aurora's upbringing and the faeries who raised her but we do get some background on that and I probably wouldn't have minded a longer ending. But really, it was just great!

Do I recommend?
Yes yes yes! Add this to your TBR. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this book and I know I will be picking up a copy for my shelves.

Happy reading!

2 comments:

  1. I have an eARC of this one so it looks like I'll have to read it ASAP! Aurora seems like a kick-ass female heroine, which I LOVE! I'm so excited to meet her. And Niklaas doesn't sound bad either. ;) That romance seems just like the type that I love reading about! I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed this one, Rachel! Thanks for your review!

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  2. Basically, what you're saying is... I need to read Princess of Thorns. No, really, that's the vibe I'm getting here ;) As I've told you, I've been tempted SO many times to just go and buy this book (though I'm holding off until after the New Year for now)! You've really made it sound AMAZING in your review, particularly when you talk about Ror and about Niklaas. I really, really want to read this one!

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