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December 5, 2014

A Shot of YA: Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

Series: Stand-alone
Format: eGalley
Release Date: December 9, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: YA Fantasy
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?


PRINCESS OF THORNS by Stacey Jay is a deconstructed version of Sleeping Beauty versus a retelling. Sleeping Beauty is Aurora's mother who's Prince wasn't quite so charming. Aurora's father not only woke up Sleeping Beauty 20 years too early, which actually cursed her instead of bless, said Prince is also married to a barren Ogre Queen! For Aurora's entire life and safety, she's lived in the shadows together with her mother and brother until her father's death which put her in mortal danger. As the rightful heir, the Queen will not allow Aurora's ascension to her throne, not only that, there is an Ogre prophecy which entails that Aurora and her brother must be sacrificed for the Queen's race to live on. 

Let me address that blurb a little bit, IMHO it's a little inflated, although PRINCESS OF THORNS is good it's more of a dark fairytale fantasy than an epic one. Don't expect a plot that's as complex and fantastical as Game of Thrones, there's a shortlist of players and the plot is focal to Aurora. We get alternating POV's from the Queen and Niklaas but even their chapters are still in relation to Aurora. It's more like the movie Snow White plot-wise, a little older than the Disney version and a few shades lighter than the original Grimm tale. My take on this is it's YA that leans more to the 16 and younger set than MYA in terms of tone.

Obviously I enjoyed PRINCESS OF THORNS, it has that enemies to friends to lovers trope and I found Aurora pretending to be a boy and shooting the shit with Niklaas entertaining until the latter found out "Ror" is The Princess Aurora he's planning to court and who's heart he plans to win. Awkward! Speaking of Niklaas, he has his own curse to bear. When he turns 18 he'll turn into a swan, thanks to his greedy father, to prevent him from taking the throne. He had 10 brothers who joined the aviary club previously. I liked this backstory as well and I wish there's another book that explores this part of the story. Now that Niklaas found his HEA with Aurora sans the feathers, maybe they can find a way to restore his brothers or turn them into wereswans or something. Bottom line is I wouldn't mind another book off this world.

PRINCESS OF THORNS isn't a bad gateway novel for me to sample SJay. I'm not sure about her previous fantasy novels but this one has that juvenile fiction feel to it, not something I would crave but it was a good break from "the usual", if you know what I mean. The plot might have lacked in complexities but I think its simplistic approach worked and made it easy to read. Also alternating POV's is tricky as it tend to hinder the development of the book but SJay managed to do it well in this one. And with Christmas around the corner, I think this could make for a cool gift for a daughter, niece, or friend who likes YA.








32 comments:

  1. I'm so glad this was an awesome read for you, Braine. I really looking forward to that much-talked about enemies to friends relationship. It's my favourite kind. :)

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    1. It's all foreplay come to think of it

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  2. So many people are living this! I loved her Juliet Immortal books so I should give this a try as well.

    Great review!

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    1. I want to try that but I'm afraid I might find it corny. I will have to dig up your reviews

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  3. I enjoyed Jay's take on Beauty and the Beast, so I look forward to picking this up! I'm thankful that your review has made me even more eager to read it. I'm very glad that there is a backstory to the male lead with another curse and a take on a different fairy tale!

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    1. Ooh I want to try that then. I'm picky when it comes to fairy tale retells but obviously loved this one. I have to look up B&B, I like SJay's style

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  4. Now this sounds fun :D I do worry about YA, but finds some gems now and then

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  5. Ahh I need this in my life!!! Braine you know I love fairy tale retellings.

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    1. Then I hope you grab a copy, it's still in NG :)

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  6. Oh I keep hearing great things about this one but I haven't read it I confess. I still have a book by the author to read in UF but I'm soooooooo late. I have it for years... I'm such a lost cause but I'm glad you had a good time with this one.

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    1. We all are when it comes to our TBRs. I hope you get to find time for it next year

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  7. Oh yeah, those inflated blurbs. Gotta love/hate them. I love Sleeping Beauty so I want to try this one.

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    1. Comparing your book to GoT is probably not a good idea. That's some big shoes to fill!

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  8. I didn't know about this book and I love fairytale. Sounds like she blended two since the Swan Princess was turned to Swan Prince as well as the Sleeping Beauty stuff. I'll definitely have to pick this up. Thanks for sharing about it!

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    1. I forgot about Swan Pricess! I guess she did except the Princess turned into a Prince LOL

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  9. This is a new-to-me author and book, but sounds like it belongs on my tbr! I enjoy reinvented fairytales and I like these kinds of twists. Thanks for the note that the blurb is a bit inflated - I'd rather go in with realistic expectations.

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    1. You're welcome. It's a great story but that comparison isn't going to help IMO

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  10. I'm not so sure I'd like this one, Braine. It sounds to be a little bit messy, in a way. I love fairytales, and re-tellings have to make sense to me for me to enjoy them :)
    I'm glad you liked Princess of Thorns, though, and your review is amazing as always :)

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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    1. I feel you, I'm hit or miss with retellings too. I gave it a go because I've heard great things about SJay

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  11. I like the way you describe it as a dark fairytale fantasy because that sounds freaking awesome! Even though there's a trope in it, the romance sounds highly entertaining. Lovely review Braine!

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    1. Thanks, Jeann! I know you like YA so maybe you'll enjoy this one too

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  12. Interesting! although I'd love to find fantasies as good as GOT, I know right away that's nearly impossible...That 's series is amazing! But I also enjoy this level of fantasies, they don't require as much involvement, but they can be a lot fun too.
    I'm adding this to my list, the audio download will be out soon :)
    Thanks!

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    1. GoT is a class of its own, I think only a few authors share that pedestal with Mr. Martin.

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  13. I've been seeing GoT mentioned in blurbs for YA books quite a lot lately, and I always take them with a grain of salt. I've never really been into fairytale retellings all that much, but I've heard that her Beauty and the Beast retelling is really good, too. Glad you loved this one, Braine! :D

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    1. I wish they'd stop that because if they fall short on the excerpt/first chapter then they lose readership right away

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  14. I've been curious about this one. I have heard only so-so things about her other books but was hoping this was a tad more complex. However, it might make it easier reading since it wasn't so much. I'll definitely consider reading this in the future!

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    1. Yeah the world building was very simple, no complex magic and setting. Very character driven

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  15. Sometimes the simple reads are the best. Glad you enjoyed it. Fab review as always.
    Sharon @ Sharon's Book Nook!

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  16. This sounds pretty good, Braine. I have actually have 2 books from Jay (Juliet Immortal series) that I haven't read yet...but I've planned to read them in 2015, so I'm excited. Plus, I can get this one for my younger daughter and we can share it. :)

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  17. Oh this sounds good, and I love the twisted and turned version of Sleeping Beauty.

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