Tuesday, December 2, 2014

*Gizmos Early Review* Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

**I received this book for free from Delacorte Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

*Book Blurb*

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?

*My Thoughts*

Stacy Jay's Princess of Thorns is the story about two characters who have had to deal with unique curses that come together to save a kingdom. Although this story is supposed to be a fairy tale retelling about Sleeping Beauty, I would warn readers that this is not necessarily the case. You need to be able to leave preconceived notions behind in order to enjoy this story and the world that has been created by Stacy Jay.

Prince of Thorns is told in dual first POV's with the main characters being Princess Aurora, and Prince Niklaas. There is also a third POV of the Ogre Queen which gives readers further depth into what is happening behind the scenes while Aurora and Niklaas are struggling to not only understand each other, but difficult challenges that lay in their way.

17-year old Aurora Ronce is heir to the Novere crown and Sleeping Beauty's daughter. Thanks to her mother, she's been fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy, yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Aurora, who is fierce, courageous, and perhaps a bit on the fatalistic side, is on a mission to rescue her brother Jor from the Ogre Queen Ekeeta who was responsible for her families down fall, and subsequent exile to the land of Fairy.

Aurora knows she needs an army to take back her brother and her kingdom and stop the prophesied 100 year Ogre rule that will put Humanity and the Fey on the brink of extinction. She disguises herself as a boy in order to gain the necessary means. When she meets Prince Niklaas, who thinks she is actually her brother Jor, he makes a deal with her. He will help if "Ror," if he leads Niklaas to his sister Aurora, who may be his final chance before a curse claims his humanity.

17-year old Prince Niklaas time is running out. As the Eleventh son of an Immortal King, he, like all his brothers before him, is cursed to turn into a swan on his 18th birthday. In order to break said curse, Niklaas must marry a princess outside of his father's influence. Niklaas has a few problems however. He is a man whore. His view on women, and their inability to fall madly in love with him immediately, or protect themselves from trouble without a man around, was a bit on the obnoxious side. He's not necessarily a bad guy, and I think you will end up cheering for him in the end. Perhaps it was his situation, or the fact that time was running out before he completely lost himself to the curse.

It's kind of funny to see reviewers mention that Princess of Thorns is a refitting of Mulan in that Aurora pretends to be a boy in order to make it in a male dominated world. What's interesting is that Niklaas truly fell for the subterfuge, mostly, and the two became fast friends, or brothers who would do almost anything for the other. When Aurora's secret finally does come out into the open, Niklaas finds himself rethinking everything he thought he knew about women.

Thankfully, Princess of Thorns is a standalone novel, and doesn't end with an annoying cliffhanger where we have to impatiently wait for the sequel to be released. But, I do have some feelings. Perhaps there could have been more world building by Ms Jay, including more about the Fey where Aurora spent 10 years. Perhaps there could have been more danger had Niklaas's own father been written into the storyline, or even his sister Haanah who is mentioned often, but never truly makes an appearance.

Perhaps, just perhaps, we could have seen more of what really happened to Queen Ekeeta in the end that made me scratch my head at how the ending was written. Lastly, I will say that the romance between Aurora and Niklaas is pretty mild in comparison to what I've expected from her as a writer. I do think the camaraderie between is perfectly blended and left me laughing more times than not. I do like the blend of fairies, ogres, witches, and the creepy things that go bump in the night and try to stop Aurora from reaching her goal.

Overall, I rated this 4 stars because the story kept me entertained, and even gave me a few laughs along the way. I also liked that Aurora didn't consider herself to be anything special in the beauty department, but was a fierce fighter able to hold her own against any takers.

Author - Stacey Jay
Title - Princess of Thorns
Published by Delacorte Press
Released Date: December 9, 2014
Genre: Fantasy
Format: E-Book, 400 pages

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