Princess of Thorns (review)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Title: Princess of Thorns
Author: Stacey Jay
Release Date: December 9th, 2014
Genre: Fantasy - Fairy Tale
Age Group: YA
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 3

“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?”
*Received a copy for an honest review.*

When I saw Princess of Thorns on NetGalley, I immediately requested it. The book was already on my TBR list since I first saw it a while back, and with all the "stuff" recently on the web (which I will not be getting into one way or another here, nor anywhere else) I'll admit I was even more curious to read this book.

In fairy tale style, we have our princess. In a moment of desperation, Aurora's mother -essentially Sleeping Beauty but with a twist- passed on her faerie blessing to her daughter. Aurora now had the skills necessary for survival, and survival was all she had been doing until she encountered Prince Niklaas. He needed to marry a princess in order to avoid fulfilling his curse, so he went off searching for Aurora.

It sounded like something I would love. And in a way, I did like the book. I enjoyed this world she created. I love fairy tales and fairy tale retellings. The world was broad enough where you could imagine any fairy tale coming true and making an appearance at anytime. There was even talk of a girl trapped in a tower, like a possible foreshadowing to a future story. There were so many possibilities for Princess of Thorns to go in.

However, it became quickly apparent that I couldn't be in the same book as the boy. Regardless of whether or not he recognized the heroine as the princess or if he failed to see through her disguise as a boy or not, he was ass. There are two tropes that I am starting to loathe more than anything, especially in YA: the virgin female and the manwhore love interest. Now I have some guy friends who will sometimes treat me as one of them and make comments that they might not make around other girls they aren't as familiar with, and I can honestly say there is not a single thing anyone can discuss that would be more inappropriate than some of the female only conversations that occurred at my last job, so I have heard plenty of things that might make someone blush and stammer.

So it's not the fact that the guy knew he'd only live to be a certain age before his life ended, therefore he decided to live life to the fullest and play around that bothered me. I really cannot blame his logic in that one. I just did not want to hear about it over and over and over and over and over and over. It was quickly apparent that he was shallow, and may the princess have big boobs and a pretty face, or else he might have to look away while they were having sex. Because they were going to have sex, because he was going to marry her, because he needed her to save him...whether or not she wanted him. But of course she would want him to because she female, he male. She hide with pretty things, he protect and do anything and everything or whomever he wanted. No woman can withstand his charm should he turn it on her.

All that said, by the time we reached the end of the story, I did like his growth and the boy-man he became. I will never like his character, initial opinion is never forgotten, and I'd root for the baddie over him any day, but I didn't hate him the way I did as we travelled the countryside together.

Aurora was interesting. She wasn't great, she wasn't catastrophic, she was just interesting. I liked her more than most of the other characters. (Though, personally, I'd say the baddie queen was the best written of them all.) But she failed to capture me and keep my attention.

I did not like the romance in this one. Obviously we were going to fall in love. He's too blind to notice that she was female, but she fell pretty quickly considering he's an asshole. He spent the ENTIRE trip either belittling her as she pretended to be her brother, hinting at all the pointers to get women when "he" is old enough to like women he can offer his future brother in law, and bragging about all the trillion notches on his belt and all the broken hearts he's left behind. Oh and lets not forget the fact he mentioned several times how he viewed women and that he has no intention of telling Aurora when he finally meets her why he wants to marry her. He just will marry her. But girls are so simple, she won't care she's being lied to. Be still my swooning heart. There were a smidgeon of redeeming moments in there, but they pale compared to all the rest. I do not get why she feel in love with him at all, other than because the plot required her to do so. She had issue with her personality, and most of his redeeming moments came after she already decided she liked him. So I do not understand the WHY in this one.

It sounds like I disliked the book, doesn't it?

But once we get to a certain point in the story, once we've made it over the rough areas, the story changes. I liked the characters more. They started acting like decent heroes are meant to be. The romance became more interesting and developed, it was no longer just fall in love so we can play his curse off hers type of thing.

Words To Live By
“I am only a child, too innocent to realize that there is no salvation without darkness, no triumph that doesn't carry the seeds of its own destruction bouncing in its pocket.”

“What? Is something wrong?"
"You're ominous-looking is all. Like a plague rider. Or Death's little brother."
"Really? Are you scared?"
"Don't be afraid, Niklaaaaasssss. Death has not come for you tonight."
"Stop that."
"Why? Death only wantssss to be friendssss."
"There's something damaged in that head of yours.”

“Last night was what love is supposed to feel like, terrifying and beautiful and so close you're afraid you'll lose a piece of yourself, but you don't. You gain a piece of the person you love instead, a piece that makes you stronger and happier than you could have imagined possible.”

Because of my initial view of the story, I really cannot rate this book higher than a 3. But the story was intriguing and well written enough that I would be interesting in reading more by this author. This is one of those stories that you will know fairly early on if it's your thing or not. So sit down and read a few chapters then decide.

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