PRINCESS OF THORNS by Stacey Jay

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Imprisoned in the ogre queen’s dungeon, Princess Aurora’s mother made a dying wish that her fairy gift would be transfered to her young daughter.  But instead of receiving Rose’s beauty, Aurora found herself filled with strength, courage, and the ability to control the wills of men–everything she would need to take back her kingdom.  After a decade hiding among the fairies, the time for rebellion arrives. Desperate to rescue her recently captured brother from the ogres, she disguises herself as a boy and sets off to raise an army.  But when she meets a smug young prince with his heart set on marrying her, the journey gets a lot more complicated.

There was a lot going on in this fairytale – inspired fantasy.  Both protagonists and the ogre queen are dealing with a lot of personal issues.  Major themes include sacrifice, trust, loyalty, the nature of love (i.e., to what extent is it a choice), and free will.  So lots going on in the theme/character development arena.  But the plot still moves along at a fast pace. Both the prologue and the “present day” story begin in media res, and the suspense stays high throughout.  So although I wasn’t quite able to fully process all of the thematic material at once (the themes most important to the relationship part of the story weren’t all the same as the ones for the plot which made the ending extra complicated for me), I did really enjoy the book and plan to try some of Stacey Jay’s others! I would recommend it to teens who enjoy high fantasy (the Sleeping Beauty parallels are minor).

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