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Review: Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

Princess of Thorns
Stacey Jay
Delacorte Press
Published December 9, 2014

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About Princess of Thorns

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?

My Review

This book has been on my reading list for YEARS. I don’t know why it took me so long to read it, since it has a lot of things I like: star-crossed romance, references to familiar fairy tales, alternating viewpoints between Aurora and Niklaas, capricious magic, and political intrigue.

I loved how the fairy blessings that Aurora’s mother passed to her also became curses in their way. She meant them for good, but the magic didn’t work quite the way she and Aurora expected. That created some interesting situations for Aurora to navigate.

PRINCESS OF THORNS spins some darker themes into its fairytale story in othere ways, too. Aurora’s mother is THE Sleeping Beauty Princess from the fairytale, only in this story, the prince wasn’t the hero from the original story. Niklaas bears his own curse– one ordered against him and all his brothers by their immortal father– in which he’ll turn into a swan at sunrise on his eighteenth birthday. I liked the ties to other fairy tales and how even those familiar things were reimagined.

The only thing I struggled with at all was a moment in the climax (which I will try not to spoil) that left me feeling a bit let down. It felt like a thing happened because Aurora wanted it badly enough, and I found myself wishing that there had been something more concrete that she had to do instead.

On the whole, though, I really enjoyed this book and I kind of wish that Aurora and Niklaas would go on to try to break his brothers’ curse and confront his father in another book. It looks like there was some discussion of a sequel at one point (there was a Kicktraq fundraiser for one) but I don’t see any recent news about it.

I think readers who enjoyed A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY by Brigid Kemmerer will love this one.

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 15 up.

Major characters are white.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Reference to sex between boy and girl. Niklaas hints at past sexual exploits. Aurora remembers a boy she kissed and considered doing more with. A young woman makes a sexual advance at Aurora (while she’s dressed as her brother) and grabs her groin. Kissing and touching between boy and girl.

Spiritual Content
Aurora has been fairy blessed– received powers her mother meant to protect her, which act more as a curse sometimes. A witch cursed Niklaas and his brothers at his father’s request. Ogres consume human souls for their power. Some have the ability to see the future. A woman with a demon feeding on her ear tells Aurora some details about her future.

Violent Content
Situations of peril. Several mentions of and some descriptions of torture. A couple battle scenes.

Drug Content
Aurora and Niklaas drink beer together at an inn.

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