Aug 6, 2022

Review--Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen


A darkly enchanting fantasy debut about a morally gray witch, a cursed prince, and a prophecy that ignites their fate-twisted destinies—perfect for fans of The Cruel Prince and Serpent & Dove.

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.


Upon seeing the gorgeous cover of Gina Chen's debut, Violet Made of Thorns, I knew I had to have it! And with so many pretty covers to choose from, I settled on the B&N edition for it stole my heart the most! This is a very fairy tale-esque story, but I am not entirely sure if it's based on any real fairy tale or not. Which that just made reading this one all the more new and interesting! I will say without that prior knowledge, this book still held all the fairy tale like themes and even had nods to a few of them, plus there are fairies and witches too!

Violet is a prophet for the king, and has been ever since she was a child and saved the life of Prince Cyrus. As the years went by, Cyrus and Violet had what you would call a frenemies kind of relationship. There wasn't a lot of friendliness going on, but the animosity seemed to be mutual and somewhat friendly too...if you know what I mean! It was like they loved to hate one another. Then comes the day when Violet is given a dream visit by the Fates that tell her the prince she rescued now must die...or she would.

If that wasn't enough, the king has asked Violet to "fudge" a vision for the prince to trick him into a marriage with a princess from another kingdom. Princess Raya would be attending the ball that was to be held in Cyrus' honor in order to find his bride...except for the fact that his father was arranging a marriage without his consent. But naturally...things start to fall apart.

For one thing, despite all reason, Cyrus finds himself falling in love with Violet and though she us loathe to admit it, she is falling for him too. It was quiet interesting to watch a set of characters loathe falling in love with one another. I wasn't sure how I was feeling about it myself. I mean...when it's a hate-to-love kind of romance you kind of just go with it. There was hatred that eventually evolved into something more positive. But in this sense, it's like the two are hating on each other and then are kicking and screaming while they are kissing one another--though they don't do that! I don't know, I guess I just wish they could've loved the love that was forming between them instead of trying to fight it.

There are other forces at work here as well. Dark curses, evil witches, menacing beasts...plenty to keep the kingdom busy. Plus there's the fact that there is something not quite right about Cyrus' intended fiancee. Plenty of mystery and puzzles to be solved, though not all are solved completely by the story's end. I am not sure what the intended length of this series is meant to be. It feels like a duology at this point, but that's only a guess. I have yet to hear anything that confirms it one way or another.

Violet Made of Thorns is a very atmospheric kind of fairy tale read! I love the little nods and mentions to other well known fairy tales. They were subtle nods, so read carefully. The romance, while not entirely my cup of tea was interesting. I just never really got the feeling that the two actually liked each other because they wanted to like the other. And that kind of thing bugs me, the "I hate that I love you" kind of mentality. I mean, what is that about? But I guess the fact that they don't want to walk away from the other means something as well. I don't know, hopefully the next book will have me rooting for the two more than I was in this one. 

While I wouldn't say the book ended with a cliffhanger, it did leave a few issues up in the air. Just what will happen with the leading characters and a few missing secondary characters will hopefully be resolved with the next installment. You won't scream in rage that the book is over with these things left unsaid, but you'll definitely be itching for the next book come a year's time!

Violet Made of Thorns is a perfect fairy tale reproduction, even if there's no fairy tale acting as its original source! This is a book filled with witty banter, enchantments, curses and magic galore, with a dash of romance! Perfect for any fairy tale fan young at heart!


Overall Rating 3.5/5 stars





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