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Title: Princess of Thorns
Author: Stacey Jay
Publisher: Random House
Pub. Date: December 9, 2014
Genre: Young Adult
Rec. Age Level: 14+
More by this author: Of Beast and Beauty, Juliet Immortal, Romeo Redeemed
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?
I feel like I've been binging on good fantasy lately - especially retellings! Princess of Thorns is a mashup of a few different fairy tales; it's difficult to tell which elements belong to which classic, which actually works out quite well because it allows Jay's novel to be familiar yet fresh.
Some people might be bothered by the fact that despite her name, the MC, Aurora, isn't the Sleeping Beauty character. This didn't bother me in the slightest. I didn't approach the Princess of Thorns with an expectations and I liked the that Jay mixed things up. It made things way less predictable.
Sometimes the whole 'female character disguised as a boy' doesn't work, but I thought Jay pulled it off here. I had to employ some suspension of disbelief occasionally, but reminding myself that people often see only what they expect helped too.
I've read a quite a few of Jay's early books (the zombie ones), but I'm really glad I read this one. From what I can tell, she's been doing retellings for a bit now and, if they're as good as this one, I'm considering them all must reads.