Ogres, Princesses, and Curses, Oh My!

 Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: December 9, 2014
Pages: 400
Source: Netgalley/Random House
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Aside from reading Beastly by Alex Flinn years ago, I haven’t really read any good fairytale retellings since. However, after reading Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay, I can happily add this to my list of favorite retellings. Enthralling and romantic,Princess of Thorns not only surprised me, but also had me excited for the characters throughout the entire story. Princess of Thorns makes a fantastic standalone.

The one downfall I’d like to mention was actually in the beginning of the book. When Jay launches the story into world-building mode, I was extremely confused. So there’s this kingdom and that ogre and this queen and that curse and okayineedtobreathe whaaat what?? SLOW DOWN PLEASE. My mind needs to process all of this! The world-building is in-depth, but the execution was a little shaky for me. It took me awhile to understand what the conflict was.

Despite my initial stumbles with Princess of Thorns, I kept going because I was interested, but I also trusted Jay to further explain the fantasy world continuously. Right I was! The story developed really nicely after that, and we meet Princess Aurora, who disguises as her younger brother Jor in order to save Jor from the evil ogre queen Ekeeta. Aurora, nicknamed Ror, goes on an expedition with Niklaas, a prince who needs to marry Aurora in order to break his curse. Throughout the journey, Niklaas believes he is trekking with “little man” Jor.

Now, if you know me, you know that I absolutely love village/forest/horse expeditions, similar to inKiss of Deception. Even better was the banter that happened between Ror (Aurora) and Niklaas! It’s brotherly and sarcastic, and so realistic. As their friendship transitions to a subtle romance, I rooted them on even more. I fell in LOVE with the romance.

The conclusion of the story was fantastic. There’s enough tension and push-pull that had me biting my nails. It’s fast-paced and addicting, and I was thoroughly riveted by the conclusion. It is the perfect ending to a well-developed standalone fantasy!

Princess of Thorns was everything I expected and MORE. Even though the world-building was a bit shaky in the beginning, I was able to enjoy the story in its entirety, with its lovable characters and romance, as well as an astounding conclusion. I’m dying to pick up Jay’s other retellings! You must pick up Princess of Thorns, because as Niklaas would say, it was flaming awesome.

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