Friday, November 28, 2014

Early Review: Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

Release Date: December 9, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Goodreads | Website | Twitter

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?

Not exactly a re-telling, since this story is about Sleeping Beauty's daughter, but it still lives in the land of fairytales.
I thought it was kind of dry and crunchy, but a decent read. 
I really liked the lack of insta-love, but the relationship between Niklass and Aurora had a bit too much I-Love-You-But-Won't-Be-With-You-For-Stupid-Reasons at the end, for me to feel it was a total success.

Sleeping Beauty (whom Aurora is named after) didn't have quite the Disney ending in this story. Her husband was not only a cheater, but his actions left her and her children vulnerable to the evil Troll Queen. They were imprisoned while he was out scurrying around looking for a little action on the side, and Aurora's mother was forced to impart her fairy blessing on Aurora, in order to save both of the children.
Unfortunately, to give Aurora a fairy Gift, she had to kill herself, and then use her last breath to impart the blessing. She did her best to ensure that her daughter wouldn't suffer the same fate as she did, and blessed her with warrior strength, mercy, and a heart no man would abuse.
Sounds alright, no?
Well, (like most fairy Gifts) this one went a little dark. Instead of protecting Aurora from cheaters like her father, it made it so any man she kissed turned into a husk that only wanted to please her.
So. Unless the poor kid wants to date a zombie, her love life was a no-go.

Enter Niklass, who has also been cursed. His father wanted to make sure none of his sons ever tried to take the throne from him, so he had a witch put the whammy on them.
So, on their 18th birthday, they all turn into swans.
Sounds like another fairytale...
I thought it was cool that there were references to other fairytales twisted around the story.

Psst. I don't consider this next piece of information a spoiler, because it doesn't have anything to do with the plot. It's just mentioned in passing.
But if you're a stickler for things, then skip the next paragraph.

There's a witch who stole a girl from her parents, and then locked her in a tower. But the interesting thing Jay did was turn the tale of Rapunzel on it's ear.
See, the girl's parents were neglectful and abusive, so she was actually rescuing her. And she locked her in a tower, because she got addicted to a drug, and that was the only way she could think of to dry her out. Cool, huh? 
There's also girl in a red hood who travels with a wolf, and possibly a few others I missed.

But back to Niklass the soon-to-be Bird Prince.
He's on a mission to marry a princess, and he's got his sights set on Aurora. 
Not that he's ever met her...
He needs to get married in order to break his curse, and the girl he marries has to be in line to inherit more than him. That way, it takes him out of the running to take his father's throne, and by default, he'll be immune to the curse.

Meanwhile, Aurora's younger brother, Jor, has been captured by the Troll Queen. So, Aurora has set out, dressed as a boy, in the hopes of raising an army to save him. Niklass ends up rescuing her from a camp full of bad guys, thinking that he's rescuing Jor. He hopes to convince 'Jor' to lead him to his sister, 'Aurora', so that he can convince her to marry him.
On the other hand, 'Ror' (as she likes to be called) decides to see if she can get Niklass to help her find and army in exchange for an introduction to...well, herself
She tries to convince Niklass, once they're on the road, that the princess will never marry him, though.

Along the way, they become friends, but with each of them harboring their secret curses, it doesn't look like there's any way for them to get a Happily Ever After.

All in all, it's good for a fairytale-like story.
It's not really fast-paced, and it didn't make me want to gush, but it was pretty good overall.
The ending was a bit over the top, but I walked away from it satisfied.


Talk Supe said...

Dry and cry cunchy... Like potato chips? LOL I plan to read this sometime next week so I skimmed the rest. Thanks for the warning though, I'll set my expectations low.

Alexa said...

Hmm sounds like an interesting topic and an interesting twist on the fairy-tales we all know. I guess I shall have to read this one for myself to decide because you said it isn't insta-love so I'm interested in seeing the romance develop
Thanks for the great review!

Anne Hannah said...

I hope you guys like it! I was hoping for a bit more 'fairytale', but it was still good.

Olivia-Savannah said...

Hm, so it's not really as close to a retelling as it seems like it could be. I like the idea of a proper romance, but then again I am not a fan when they create silly reasons to not be together and to simply drag out the romance line. Again, although there were good things there were also bad I didn't like. I doubt I will rush to read this, if ever.

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