Author: Stacey Jay
Provided Synopsis: 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?
Review: Ten years after she and her brother were forced to flee their father’s kingdom, Princess Aurora must step into the destiny she was meant to follow in order to rescue her brother. The ogre queen has captured Prince Jor to fulfill a prophecy requiring a briar-born child — if she is to rescue him then Aurora must learn to trust the fairy-blessed gifts her mother offered to her. The mission to find an army to march on her kingdom leads Aurora to masquerade as Prince Jor and come into the company of the prince of a neighboring kingdom, Niklaas. Both of these individuals strive to reach their own goals, but eventually they find that they need, respect, and love the other more than either could have imagined was possible.
In some ways I would advise to think of this book as the continuation of the tale of Sleeping Beauty, in the sense that Aurora’s mother is Sleeping Beauty and the family has a connection to the fairies. Other than that the author brought in many other aspects of the fantasy genre to create a story that kept me engaged throughout. I have always been a lover of adventure tales, and this one did not disappoint me, especially because I enjoyed the dynamic between the two main characters so much. Their trials and tribulations bring them to states of loathing, annoyance, friendship and respect, mistrust, confusion, and love. Niklaas in particular had some opinions of women that were troublesome, yet his growth due to Aurora brought him to a place where I believed they were worthy of one another. This is a book in which the heroine disguises herself as a boy, but the romance is handled in a masterful way.
My biggest qualm with Princess of Thorns — and the most significant reason as to why it is not rated higher — is the conflict with the ogres. The dispersed sections of the book written through the eyes of the ogre queen were not enough to reconcile me with the ending. In fact, I am not even sure the ending can be considered to be conclusive since it jumps so rapidly to the conflict between Aurora and Niklaas once again. Things would have tied together much better had the queen been given just that one more chapter told in her point of view to show how matters could end as they did.