Audiobook Review: Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen

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 »

April 2023 Wrap Up

I’ve been feeling really rough with a bad cold the last couple of weeks but I’m slowly starting to feel a bit better. I’m listening to A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab and am really enjoying it so that is providing something to look forward to while I sit at home feeling ill!

A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting by Sophie Irwin ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Historical romance isn’t my usual reading genre but I love watching a good period drama film or show so decided to give this one a go. I’m glad I did as it’s a fun and enjoyable read with great characters, humour and, of course, romance.

Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen ⭐⭐ – I was really excited for this one so was disappointed to find it wasn’t for me. I didn’t enjoy the writing style, which had a conversationalist first person narration and excessive inner monologue. The descent to darkness, thematically and for the characters, could have worked really well but there wasn’t enough atmosphere. I listened to the audiobook and the narration may have influenced my enjoyment of this one as I didn’t like the narrator’s style or voice. I’ll be posting a full review soon.   

Progress has been a little slow lately thanks to the aforementioned cold, but I’m still feeling optimistic about the progress I’ve made on my WIP this year. Hopefully I can get back into it soon.

What books have you enjoyed this month? Chat with me in the comments!