“Princess of Thorns” by Stacey Jay (2014)
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Fairy tale Retelling
Page Length: 400 pages (hardcover edition)
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? (description from Goodreads)
Princess of Thorns is a nice fairy tale retelling that tells the story of Sleeping Beauty’s daughter Aurora. Aurora, with the help of Princess Niklaas, set out on a journey to save her brother while disguised as a guy. I personally never have read the Brother’s Grimm version of this particular story, but this novel is a bit more gritty than Disney’s version of Aurora (in the animated and live action version). Basically it’s like Snow White in the film, Snow White and the Huntsman, where she is presented as a more fierce princess. While there is lots of action and fight scenes, it also has lots of sweet and intimate moments as well.
Aurora is strong and confident, but her stubborn/headstrong attitude is her downfall. A lot of situations could have been avoided if she didn’t jump into things without thinking. I think her reasoning behind acting like a “tough girl” majority of the time is her great fear of being seen by others as weak. I also thought Niklaas was an admirable character. It was nice to see a prince that had awesome fighting skills, but also reveals his softer side as well. Another added bonus is that we get to see Niklaas’ and Aurora’s relationship develop over the course of the book, rather than falling instantly in love with each other at first sight.
While it’s a good book, Princess of Thorns doesn’t stand out among other fairy tale retellings. I felt that as I was reading the story falls into a somewhat predictable pattern. Overall, I thought the adventure and action aspects are what makes this book really enjoyable.
An interesting take on Aurora. Enjoyable, but didn’t have a huge wow factor. 3 out 5 stars!