by Stacey Jay
To be published by Delacorte
on December 9, 2014
Source: eARC for review
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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?My take: I must confess that I am growing a bit weary of fairy tale retellings. But I would read a hundred of them in a row if they were like Princess of Thorns. LOVED it!
Here are all the things I loved about this book:
It's not a strict retelling -- I have decided that it's an awesome fairy tale mash-up of the Charles Perrault version of Sleeping Beauty in the Wood and either a) a Hans Christian Anderson story called the Wild Swans or b) a Brothers Grimm story called The Six Swans. Both a) and b) are about princes cursed and turned into swans.
Aurora doesn't just lie around sleeping in this story -- she's a fearless warrior princess who isn't afraid of anyone or anything and will do whatever it takes to save her brother.
The romance is maybe one of my favorite YA romances of 2014. I mean, this relationship goes through so many stages, it's the furthest thing from instalove I can imagine. There's the "person in disguise" part that leads to an odd couple road trip, there's a friendship/bromance, then a betrayal and a whole hate-to-love phase... This couple has to work on their relationship, and that really worked for me. The two of them go through a lot, and not just a lot of manufactured angst and drama.
Here are some things that have seemed to be an issue for a few others, but weren't for me:
Unless you've read a lot of old-school fairy tales, this isn't a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story as you may know it. Just forget that whole Disney HEA version of the story which leaves out some stuff. I actually love what I think of as "spin-off" fairy tale retellings, in which the author uses some elements of the story to create a new and re-imagined version of the tale.
Niklaas is sort of a jerk at the beginning. Kind of uh, a manwhore who think women are only good for one thing. But he also has a weird family backstory. And he changes. He learns to see women in a whole different way.
I've read reviews that say that the worldbuilding is confusing. I had to think about that. In all the Stacey Jay books I've read, the story world is pretty complicated, and I've always just decided to absorb what I can and go with it. But I can see that if you're a stickler for every detail being filled in, this might be an issue.
I really loved this one -- it just might have pulled me out of my end-of-year book slump. If you've read it, let me know what you think!