Fantasy, Fiction, romance

Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen (Fairyloot August 2022)

Themes: YA fantasy, fairytale, romance

The synopsis

Violet is a prophet and a liar, influencing the royal court with her cleverly phrased—and not always true—divinations. Honesty is for suckers, like the oh-so-not charming Prince Cyrus, who plans to strip Violet of her official role once he’s crowned at the end of the summer—unless Violet does something about it.

But when the king asks her to falsely prophesy Cyrus’s love story for an upcoming ball, Violet awakens a dreaded curse, one that will end in either damnation or salvation for the kingdom—all depending on the prince’s choice of future bride. Violet faces her own choice: Seize an opportunity to gain control of her own destiny, no matter the cost, or give in to the ill-fated attraction that’s growing between her and Cyrus.

Violet’s wits may protect her in the cutthroat court, but they can’t change her fate. And as the boundary between hatred and love grows ever thinner with the prince, Violet must untangle a wicked web of deceit in order to save herself and the kingdom—or doom them all.

The review

This edition is lucky to be this gorgeous otherwise I’ll unhaul it!

When I received this book in my FairyLoot box, I was thrilled since it was on my wishlist and the story sounded exactly what I usually like to find in a YA fantasy. And the beginning of the book was at least the one of a 4 stars if not a 5. I really enjoyed the idea of the heroine being a Seer but a lying, manipulative one, her absence of remorse when it comes to surviving and all the fairytale aspects. You have a castle, a girl in a tower, a prince, a curse and pretty much a retelling of all Andersen’s fairytales perfectly woven into the plot, which are all element I usually love.

But different aspects disappointed me. The plot, first of all. It was slow, took a lot of complex detours but ended up being overly simple (despite the twist), and I didn’t understand where it was going for at least half of the book. Many threads remain unexploited such as the witch, the forest, but also all the politics that was heavily present in the plot though.

The second disappointment came from the characters. The only character I enjoyed was Violet, because she was really a morally grey character but most of all because the reasons behind her behaviour were explained and logical. The prince was forgettable at best and really annoying by the end of the book. He was upright, judgmental and never really tried to understand Violet despite his ‘love’ for her. It seems the author tried to make him evolve from upright to morally grey in the final chapters, but he just ended up being petty and selfish and misbehaved towards our heroine. It is no surprise that I didn’t enjoy their relationships at all, which evolved from neutral to unhealthy. Plus, this evolution in his character just made the plot utterly confusing. Keeping the discrepancy between the morally grey Violet and the stereotypical, charming Prince could have led to more interesting situations than what this literary choice did.

The final point is still about the characters and will be as brief as the development given to the secondary cast of characters.

In brief: This book is a low 3 stars for me but still a 3 stars because I enjoyed its first half. But it is really lacking a fully exploited plot, a steadier pace, a better development of the characters, and less ‘tell the action’ for more ‘act’. Oh, and the final thing would be having a worldbuilding fit for a fairytale retelling. Here, we only see Violet’s tower and 2 rooms in the castle (ok, let’s say 3 at most).

My rating: 3/5

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