Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Princess of Thorns - Stacey Jay

Princess of Thorns book cover
Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: December 9, 2014
Source/Format: Gifted by Rachel & Racquel || Hardcover

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?


I have tread the same path as many fans before me and fallen head over heels in love with Princess of Thorns, Stacey Jay’s tale of what happens after Sleeping Beauty, in particular to her daughter Aurora. Not only does Jay present a story with a girl in disguise and a prince trying to break the curse on him, she manages to weave in humor, emotion and action in equal doses. I’m thoroughly impressed by how well-written Princess of Thorns is, and it has definitely cemented my appreciation for Stacey Jay and her stories.

While I’m sorely tempted to simply gush about Princess of Thorns, it occurred to me that it might prove helpful to my readers if I provided them with some sort of navigation for this story. Inspired by the quest Niklaas and Ror (Aurora’s chosen moniker) embark upon, I’ll be sharing my own map of important stops when it comes to the reading experience that Princess of Thorns has to offer.

The Cell of Lost Naivete

There’s nothing quite as wonderful as having a story that has strong, simple lore and a well-built world running through its entirety. In Princess of Thorns, Jay introduces Aurora’s history – her mother’s death, the ogres and their prophecy, the influence of the fairies. But she also introduces Niklaas’ history (his father’s immortality and the resulting curse), and the various details attributed to the different peoples and villages that Niklaas and Ror stop at along the way. Jay demonstrates a special ability to build a solid, believable past and present for her characters, and a world that comes alive with each page.

The Forest of Undeniable Truths

Jay uses her world and lore as a springboard-slash-background for her fast-paced plot. Ror has set out to find a way to save her brother Jor from the clutches of the ogres and retake their kingdom; Niklaas rescues her from a nasty situation and agrees to accompany her in exchange for an introduction to Aurora. Ror’s decision to hide her identity, the perils and joys they encounter along the way, the dynamic between these two characters – all of it adds up to a very satisfying trip. Add in the ogres and their determination to hunt down Ror in order to fulfill their prophecy, and that definitely elevates this plot by making the stakes even higher.

The Intersection of Two Strangers 
(with a special side trip to The Bluff of Unexpected Emotions)

But really, Jay truly manages to make Princess of Thorns spectacular by way of her well-rounded characters. Let’s start with Aurora/Ror. She’s a girl who has experienced a fair bit of trauma already, and yet she remains determined to do the right thing by her brother and her people. She’s stubborn, sassy and quick on her feet; I love that she’s a fighter who knows her own strengths even though others may doubt them. Then, we have Niklaas, a prince who comes across as arrogant and self-absorbed initially, but proves to be made of more than just his good looks and playful, flirtatious nature. He’s trying to escape his curse in order to protect his sister, which is testament to his kindness; it’s only further reinforced as he comes to care deeply about Ror. Together, these two go through quite a few stages of relationship (strangers-acquaintances-friendship-romance), and Jay handles the romance perfectly. I’m partial to romantic relationships that develop from a true friendship, and those where feelings slowly shift from hate to love, and Jay combines the two excellently in Princess of Thorns.

Basically, Princess of Thorns is excellent. It’s seriously just as good as my friends promised it would be, if not more. I might have been nervous going into it knowing about all the hype, but I can confidently say that I loved it just as much as I’d hoped upon finishing it. Don’t hesitate to grab your copy of Princess of Thorns and indulge in an engaging story with two incredible main characters (who you will totally shippy ship ship)!

6 comments:

  1. thanks for linking me!! omg FINDING AUDREY!!! you must let me know how that goes cos I love Kinsella!!

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  2. This is a great review! I love fairy tale retellings, and I've been trying to read more fantasy this year and joined the Flights of Fantasy Challenge to do so. I've been reading more fantasy books and really enjoying them! Also, I really appreciate character development and how that shapes the overall story, so this sounds perfect for me! I think this might have to be one of my next few reads- I'm really excited to read this book as I hadn't known much about it before! Great review!

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  3. Danielle @ Love at First PageMay 12, 2015 at 8:28 PM

    I've been hoping you'd read this and love it as much as Of Beast and Beauty! First of all, I love the way you did your review - so creative! I also completely agree. It's such a fun, adventurous, and fast-paced story, and the ship is ADORABLE. <3
    I do hope she'll be able to write more in the future.

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  4. I agree. I like relationships that develop from friendships and those "hate-to-love" romances. This has been on my radar. I've gotta check it out soon.

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  5. Oh, glad you enjoyed it! I love Stacey Jay's stories! They're so powerful and these fairy-tale retellings take you back to the original thing and at the same time introduce something new that's so <3 <3 *.*

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  6. Candice @ The Grown-Up YAMay 14, 2015 at 10:40 AM

    I really REALLY need to read this! I've been saying it for months now! Glad you enjoyed it and that it lived up to our expectations!

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Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)

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