Friday, February 20, 2015

[Book Review] Princess of Thorns

 Title: Princess of Thorns
Author: Stacey Jay
Genre: Young Adult // Romance // Fairytale Retellings 
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: December 9, 2014
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased (Audible)

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 (goodreads)?

A princess in disguise, a rakish prince and ogres. This book definitely did not disappoint!

Plot: Princess of Thorns opens with Princess Aurora and her family banished to a dungeon awaiting their execution. Given Sleeping Beauty's history, she knows what she has to do to ensure the safety of her children: she blesses them with fairy gifts. A decade later, Aurora (or Ror) finds herself separated from her brother and teams up with Prince Niklaas to finally rid the world of the Ogre Queen. As others have said, Princess of Thorns acts more of a sequel than direct retelling, which a feminist twist. I found myself rapt with attention while listening to this one, although there were times where it felt that the story wasn't moving anywhere. 

Characters: Ror was a fabulous female lead; she was spunky, she had heart, and she was cautious when need be. I loved that she was always a step a head of everyone and the sacrifices that she was willing to make for her family. Her counter part, was a fine Yang to her Yin. Niklaas was a smug, confident and a womanizer. Even though he was all of those things, I was still intrigued by him. It was clear that Niklaas had a secret he was keeping from Aurora, and I wanted to be with her as she uncovered his past and family history. 

The banter between Ror and Niklaas is what I live for in romance, although this banter doesn't stem from sexual tension, but two Niklaas trying to show his (apparent) masculinity over the frail 14 year old "boy." I loved how their relationship grew from dislike to friendship, and I held my breath wondering how Niklaas would find out that his princely companion was actually a princess. 

World Building: What I've learned from other Stacey Jay books is that her world are usually full of lore, albeit a a little shaky. I thoroughly enjoyed the role of the ogres and how their teachings lead to the current state of Ror's home. 

Audio Book Performance: This was my first experience with Julia Welan, and I thought that she was a solid narrator. I wasn't always sold on her portrayal of Niklaas because I thought that she made him sound a bit older, kind of like an old tired British lord. 

Short N Sweet: Princess of Thorns was a great addition to the retellings genre, and is even stronger for the liberties that I took with the original fairytale. This is a definite read for those who prefer their love interests with a bit of humor!

Fairytale Retelling Challenge Entry


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