Princess of Thorns
By Stacey Jay
Release Date: December 9, 2014
Source: PublisherGame 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: I have loved every Stacey Jay novel I've read (three before this one) and I was definitely excited about the prospects of this twist on Sleeping Beauty. Stacey Jay has taken a story I love and created a YA fantasy world of danger, secrecy, and, of course, romance.
Princess Aurora is a fairy-blessed girl who has been gifted with strength, bravery, and mercy. However, fairy blessings often hold back those they are given to, and Aurora is cursed to destroy any boy who dares to love her. When her brother is kidnapped, Aurora will do anything to save him, which means posing as a boy as she enlists the help of Prince Niklaas to raise an army and free her brother from the Ogre queen. But can she keep her identity secret long enough to find her brother? And what secrets is Niklaas hiding of his own?
Wow, from the moment I picked up this book I could not put it down. While a lot of the book is of Aurora traveling, every moment was packed full of action, suspense, and secrecy so that I was never bored. From the start, I definitely got a Game of Thrones vibe from Aurora's journey to saving her brother and taking her place as the rightful heir to the throne and, as a huge GoT fan, I loved it. You never knew what Aurora and Niklaas were going to face next and who they could trust along the way.
And you know what else was awesome about this book? The romance! Oh my gosh, I just couldn't handle myself. Throughout the beginning of the novel, the attraction was very subtle, but as Aurora spent more and more time with Niklaas, her awareness of him as a man grew even more. Too bad he thinks she's her brother. There was so much tension as I anxiously waited for Aurora's true identity and gender to be revealed and when Niklaas would realize the boy he thought he was growing attached to like a brother was, in reality, a girl. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time and just wanted Niklaas to know who he was really with already! I loved how Aurora got to know the real Niklaas when he thought she was just another guy. The development of their relationship was definitely not conventional, but I loved how deep and real it was.
In the end, I absolutely loved this book. As far as retellings go, I loved how Stacey Jay took the base story of Sleeping Beauty and made it completely her own about Aurora and Phillip's children and how the charming Prince Phillip wasn't actually all that charming. Their son and daughter are left to fend for themselves in a world where evil ogres rule and the destiny of the kingdom depends on a 17-year-old girl who is blessed and cursed. Aurora is left to trust a beautiful boy she knows nothing about to save her brother and the future of her rightful kingdom. Any fan of fantasy must read Princess of Thorns and follow Aurora and Niklaas on their journey towards finally accomplishing what they were born to do.