Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Publishing Info: Audiobook by Hodder & Stoughton, narrated by Jasmine Bayes
Star Rating: 2/5
Back Cover Summary:
The first in a darkly enchanting fairytale-tinged fantasy duology about a morally grey witch, a cursed prince and a prophecy that ignites their fate-twisted destinies, perfect for fans of The Cruel Prince and Serpent & Dove.
There’s always a price for defying destiny.
Violet is a prophet and a liar, influencing the court as Seer 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 her of her title once he’s crowned.
After the king asks her to falsely prophesy Cyrus’s love story for an upcoming ball, Violet awakens a dreaded curse about the prince’s future bride. Her wits may protect her in the cutthroat court, but they can’t protect her against fate—nor the doomed attraction growing between her and the prince….
Violet Made of Thorns has a promising premise but the execution of the elements doesn’t gel in a satisfactory way. At the start, I felt slightly baffled, as what I was reading didn’t seem to fit with the book’s description. There was much more banter, humour and over-the-top situations than I would have expected to find in a dark fantasy.
The writing style is a conversationalist first person that would feel more at home in a contemporary novel. This isn’t necessarily an issue, and many readers may enjoy this style, but it didn’t work for me in this case. It can feel slightly jarring when high fantasy novels have a more modern style, but it could have really worked here with the fairy tale aspect of the book if it had been packaged differently. The large amount of inner monologue also makes the pacing of the book feel very slow for such a short novel.
While the opening parts of the book were almost cartoonish and slightly ridiculous at times, the story does get darker as the book progresses. That slow descent to a darker story could have worked really well, but I didn’t feel it. I wasn’t drawn in and didn’t feel that dawning horror as events progress ever more darkly. Something was just missing.Read More »