Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay
(Description nicked from B&N.com.)
“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?”
You know, given the recent brouhaha around Jay’s Kickstarter campaign–the one that garnered her threatening messages for attempting to raise money to write a sequel to this book–I feel bad giving this book a not-so-positive review. But I have to be honest and say that I wasn’t at all happy with this novel.
For one thing, I didn’t really see any plot. The characters mostly went from one place to another with not much happening except a lot of bickering. The places that they went didn’t stand out to me. And even though this is billed as a fantasy retelling of Sleeping Beauty, it bears no resemblance to the original fairy tale.
That brings up a second point: a retelling should be just that. It should take the skeleton of the original story and clothe it in new flesh so that readers meet a whole new creature in reading it. This?… not so much. The Sleeping Beauty character, in fact, isn’t even part of the story, since she dies at the start of the book, leaving her two children to win back her kingdom. The daughter is named Aurora, which is the name of the fairy tale antecedent, but she has nothing in common with that character.
This leads into the third point: the characters ranged from boring to annoying. Sad to say, Aurora is the boring one. Although there’s no insta-chemistry with her and the male lead, she really has no personality of her own. She wanders around, solely focused on raising an army, completely missing the fact that she has no means or support to do so. Her counterpart, Niklaas, is a character that I’d cheerfully throttle if I ever met him in person. He’s self-centered, egotistical, and boorish. He believes that Aurora is her brother (she’s disguised as a boy), but he talks about his plan to marry Aurora as if she has no choice but to fall into his arms at the first opportunity. And when he inevitably discovers the truth, instead of being mortified at all the things he said, he gets mad at Aurora for fooling him and exposing him as the aforementioned self-centered, egotistical, etc. that he is.
I’ve seen some stellar reviews for this book, so it obviously strikes a positive chord with some people. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people, so I’ll have to recommend that you give this book a pass.
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 400
Publication Date: December 9, 2014
Acquired: Provided by the publisher as an e-ARC through NetGalley