Published by Delacorte on December 9, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult
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?
A big thanks to the publisher via Netgalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.
As one who reads primarily contemporary young adult novels, I was thrilled to dive into the fantasy genre, especially one that involves somewhat of a re-telling/ re-imagining from the classic Sleeping Beauty story.
I will admit, I struggled a bit at the beginning, but pushed through and am so glad that I did. There were some parts in the beginning that left me feeling confused & had me going back to reread, but once the story really got going, I found myself thoroughly enjoying the journey and the characters. Like the characters, I found myself falling in love with the story, somewhere along the way.
Princess of Thorns is an imaginative & beautifully written re-imagining of one of my favorites, Sleeping Beauty. There are even hints of other magical stories including, Repunzel & The Swan Princess. I loved these little hints of other stories, however, they did not overshadow the plot of Sleeping Beauty. Of course, readers must know that this book isn’t about the original Sleeping Beauty, but her daughter, Aurora.
What I love most is that Stacey Jay doesn’t stick to the happily ever after that we’d see in the Disney version, but rather the more dark and unhappy original version. The prince that woke Sleeping Beauty up from her slumber was, in fact, not the charming prince we grew up hearing about. In fact, the brief glimpses of Sleeping Beauty and her prince are what helped develop Aurora into a kick-ass heroine. I loved seeing her develop throughout the story, as well as her relationship with her brother. But my favorite relationship would be that between Aurora and Niklaas.
Aurora is impulsive, while Niklaas is arrogant. However, both are equally stubborn and display this in their arguments that are fueled by longing, desperation, and their own hard-headedness. Neither of the two are perfect, which I love. This allowed both to grow and develop in ways that I wasn’t expecting. I enjoyed seeing them develop and change from start to finish. In fact, in the beginning, I despised Niklaas & his pig headedness. Jay created this rather unlikeable and flawed character, but had me loving him in the end.
The romance in the story is also one I loved. What started out as companionship, soon developed into a friendship, mutual respect, and soon into a beautiful & complicated romantic relationship. Like any relationship, the one between Aurora and Niklaas is flawed, but the tension between the two and the constant back and forth is what made this developing relationship believable for me.
Princess of Thorns overall was a story I thoroughly enjoyed. Yes, I struggled at the beginning, but the more I read, the more I enjoyed the story. Stacey Jay has another great book & one that I hope you add to your reading list.