Monday, December 22, 2014

Princess of Thorns

Princess of Thorns is a YA fantasy Sleeping Beauty retelling by Stacey Jay.

Sleeping Beauty’s story did not end with Happily Ever After.

Instead, she sacrificed her life in the arms of her seven year old daughter Aurora in order to give Aurora her fairy magic – and a chance to survive the coup of the murderous ogres.

Now, ten years later, Aurora has learned that magic always has an unexpected, bitter result – and though it has given her excellent fighting skills and a merciful heart, it also has barred her from ever having true romantic love.

When her younger brother, Jor, is captured by the Ogre Queen, she sets off to raise an army to rescue him while dressed as a boy and hunted by the Ogre Queen’s followers.

Meanwhile, Prince Niklaas is searching for Aurora – his life depends on it. A curse laid down by his own father leaves him with only days before his fateful eighteenth birthday – a birthday that will claim his humanity, as it did his ten older brothers.

His only hope, as he was told by a witch, is to find Aurora – so when he locates her brother Jor (or so he thinks) he is blackmailed into assisting “him” in finding an army.

Fighting against an ogre prophecy that foretells the end of human life and each of their own curses – will Aurora and Niklaas find the Happily Ever After that was denied Sleeping Beauty?

I have become a definite fan of Stacey Jay! Both of the Romeo & Juliet retellings were quite memorable – Juliet Immortal and Romeo Redeemed. And then her Beauty & the Beast retelling Of Beast and Beauty was hauntingly lovely.

Princess of Thorns didn’t leave quite as much of a lasting impression but it was still a great book!

Here we have a horrifying, intriguing, captivating start – a given with Stacey Jay, it seems. She breaks apart the lovely naiveté of the Sleeping Beauty story we know and gives it a darker edge.

The ogres are creepy, disturbing villains – yet I felt they were also the novel’s primary weakness. I felt the ogres could have been made clearer – what their intentions are, their motives, etc. We get a little but I felt like I needed more from that portion of Princess of Thorns.

We get an excellently tough, hardened yet spunky and goofy heroine in Aurora and a refreshingly flawed but still likable hero in Niklaas. Their love story was the strength of Princess of Thorns and made the novel very enjoyable to read! The gender roles were turned upside down, shaken up and scattered to the winds to make these characters individuals rather than caricatures.

Basing love on a foundation of friendship and then adding in misunderstanding, mistaken identity and the pressure and problems of magical curses created a very readable dramatic fantasy novel.

For some reason I wasn’t AS drawn in with Princess of Thorns as I have been by Stacey Jay’s other books – but don’t get me wrong, I’m still a big fan of this one.

In fact, I am crossing my fingers that Stacy Jay continues this trend of retelling fairytales – because it’s darn awesome!

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