Published by Delacorte Press on December 9th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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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?
Originally I picked this one up because I assumed it was a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. Despite a few minor details connecting the two, I found Princess of Thorns to be a fairy tale all on it’s own and this time following the daughter of the famous Sleeping Beauty in a unique spin-off of a classic tale with elements from a few other fairy tales thrown in as well.
Aurora is the daughter of Sleeping Beauty and being hunted by the ogres who killed her parents and stole her crown. The ogres are vicious creatures that feed on human souls and to stop them she must disguise herself as a boy and secure an army before the ogres kill her or her brother in an effort to fulfill a prophecy that states a living darkness will rise and ogres will rule for 100 years. Niklaas is seeking the princess in hopes of breaking his own curse before it’s too late. Believing Aurora is her brother Jor who is taking him to find the princess, the two journey across the land together with danger lurking around every corner.
This book relies heavily on character development, and I’m okay with that. Aurora and Niklaas have a tremulous relationship that is constantly tested on their journey. Niklaas believing Aurora a boy was pretty entertaining at times, like how he allowed himself to be sort of a jerk and flaunting his ways with women not knowing this was the very princess he hoped to woo made me laugh. Aurora was this incredible warrior who constantly showed him up and surprised Niklaas at every corner. Both were holding onto secrets that threatened to destroy their newfound bond. I found everything about these two entertaining, and when truths were discovered and feelings evolved into more of a romance, their unique dynamic switched. Arguing and bickering disguised a deep love developing. They were both such stubborn characters but I found them sort of adorable together. Things become incredibly difficult between them, especially when Aurora’s fairy blessings passed along from her mother revealed a curse that made love seem impossible, but everything about these two and their ever-changing relationship is exactly what kept me turning page after page.
Where the book got away from me a bit was the world building. It had some promising fantastical elements with the ogres and faeries but it needed a little more depth to it all. I wish I knew more about those creatures, especially the ogres, because they did play an important part to the story and yet I didn’t truly understand them at times, especially at the climax near the end. There are just a few snippets from the ogre queen’s POV but I think a few more would have made a big difference.
Fans of fairy tales and retellings should check this one out. The character dynamics are so amazing and make the story more than worth a read!