Princess of Thorns was not what I was expecting.
It was better.
This is a hardcore fantasy adventure, with fairy tale elements threading their way throughout the story. Aurora is a princess hiding from the evil ogre queen – and to do so she pretends to be a boy. Specifically, she pretends to be her little brother, which leads to “Ror” searching for “his” sister along with a runaway prince from the neighboring kingdom.
This runaway prince, Niklaas, just happens to have his own agenda – break the curse that will turn him into a swan when he turns 18. The unlikely pair bicker and battle their way across the country, trying to win allies for their fight against the ogre queen’s forces.
The chemistry between Ror and Niklaas is delightful. They disagree almost constantly, but still respect and care about each other. Niklaas takes a big brotherly-approach to caring for Ror, who he thinks is a young prince. Ror finds herself equally infuriated by and attracted to the reckless and womanizing prince Niklaas. Their relationship goes through so many trials and changes throughout the book, and I can’t talk about anything else without spoiling it for you!
The world-building is phenomenal. Stacey Jay really knows how to make a fantasy world seem as real as anything. The periodic chapters from the ogre queen’s perspective create sympathy for the enemy, while showing the reader aspects of an ogre’s life, effectively making it even more real. The fairy tale magic and mystery is wholly believable, and the curses and promises made even more so.
Verdict: Stacey Jay’s Princess of Thorns is an engrossing fantasy adventure, tied together with fairy tale magic, curses and romance. I highly recommend it!