A Hot Mess: Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

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? 

Source: GoodReads

I had been looking forward to Princess of Thorns for awhile.  I put it on hold though for awhile, due to some drama that occurred in January.  I didn’t want it biasing my review of the book, so I gave enough time between it so that I could distance any feelings I had.

Princess of Thorns is a clusterfuck of the book. It’s really the word that describes it best.  It was like Jay put everything and the kitchen sink in this one book and it’s just exhausting.

There are some nice things about the book though, I’ll give it that.  But the book really felt desperate.

Desperate for me to love it in its mix of every fairytale under the sun.  Let’s see there’s Sleeping Beauty, there’s that Swan story with all the brothers, Little Red Riding Hood, and some Rapunzel in it.

And it’s just a mess.

I can sort of get why Jay wanted to write a sequel because there was too much going on in this world to have it resolved in four hundred pages.

In fact, one plot point is completely unresolved.

And a pretty big one at that.

I know unresolved plot point equals sequel, but the way this plot isn’t even attempted to be developed is just sort of annoying. It really felt like it was just added there for a sequel.

And the likelihood of one actually happening now is like zip to none.

I did like the lead for the most part.  There were times that I did get annoyed with Aurora, like there were some scenes where she borderline slut slammed, but she wasn’t horrible.  At least when she wasn’t thinking about Niklaas.  That ship.

So not happening.

In a lot of ways Aurora was a bit of a cliche of what the typical protagonist in YA fantasy is today-a variant of Celaena from Throne of Glass but not as vain.  I really don’t know why everyone thinks that every fantasy heroine is going to be a bad ass, but I’ll admit Aurora has some moments.  And then she has some (okay, a lot) of Bella moments.

Especially when it came to Niklaas who I could not stand. Especially when Aurora talked about him.

God, girl was hit by the nasty stick of insta  love.

And Niklaas-who I call in my head Nik-ass was nothing to really droll over.  He’s a jerk wad that is fairly banal.  He out right tells Aurora- who he thinks is a boy (more about that in a bit) that he just wants to marry Aurora for his own purposes. And no one is going to stop him.

Hmmm, you know who this reminds me of.  A certain Disney character.

And no, it’s not Prince Eric or Aladdin.

It’s Gaston.

Yes, Nik-ass is totally Gaston.  You know how Gaston was like I don’t even need to ask Belle to marry me because I’m Gaston, Nik-ass was the same way.  Except unlike Belle, Aurora’s an idiot and likes Gaston.

Maybe this is what happens to Gaston after he’s pushed off the cliff…maybe he doesn’t die!

Oooh, total conspiracy theory there.

Okay, on a more serious note it’s pretty disgusting thinking that this ship is should be one that is rooted for.  Based on Nik-ass’s behavior alone I wanted Aurora to ram her knee in his nuts.

Alas, that did not happen here.

In addition to being a complete ass, Nik-ass has to be one of the dumbest individuals know to man kind. Seriously, he doesn’t know Aurora is a girl because she’s wearing armor.

Yet, he mentions what a feminine looking boy she is every other page.

Here’s my beef.  If you’re going to do the Mulan trope, a trope that I actually do like, you need to do it right.  Doing it right means that the girl needs to actually look like a passable guy and act like a passable guy.  Chop off the hair.  Have her put dirt on her face to hide her lack of facial hair.  Have her actually try to act masculine.  Just pulling up her hair and wearing a suit of armor is really not enough for a delicate fairy woman (that’s what Nik-ass later calls her-or a variant of that) is just insulting to the intelligence of your characters.

The again, Nik-ass basically is a Gaston variant.

If you loved Of Beast and Beauty and expected the same with Princess of Thorns you’re going to be disappointed.  While there are some interesting ideas and nice moments in this book, it is overall a mess.  There’s way too much going on in here to properly be resolved in four hundred pages, and to me having so much crap in the book is almost gimmicky.

It’s like I dare you not to give me a sequel.

Well, unfortunately for this book I doubt it will get it’s sequel.

Despite the fact that Princess of Thorns annoyed me, there were still bits an pieces of it that showed that Jay is skilled at stringing sentences together.  However, next time I think she should leave some of the plot devices in the kitchen.

Overall Rating: A solid C.



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