This review contains affiliate links. That means I receive a small commission to no cost to you from any purchases you make through these links
Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen
- Publisher: Delacorte Press < Penguin Random House
- Genre: Low Fantasy
- Audience: Young Adult
- Pages: 368 (hardcover)
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.
“There are no love stories found upon the throne. Only secrets and schemes and spider-fingered kings“Violet made of thorns
Violet Made of Thorns has been circling around on BookTok, and was chosen as Barnes & Noble’s YA Book Club Pick.
Due to these two factors, this book has become a highly anticipated bestseller that many readers are raving about. But if anyone has learned anything from reading BookTok books—or highly anticipated/hyped books in general—it’s that even great books almost never live up to high expectations going in.
This was the case for me as I dived into Violet Made of Thorns. Though I wasn’t anticipating this book’s premise as much as I did The Darkening by Sunya Mara, or This Vicious Grace by Emily Thiede, I did rely too heavily on social media to source all my excitement going in.
Turns out, allowing social media to hype me up about it was a big mistake. Big shocker.
Even though the premise wasn’t all that interesting to begin with, I feel like it definitely had more potential than what it turned out to be.
In a nutshell, the characters were inconsistent and paper-thin, the romance was poorly constructed and lacked any kind of chemistry or sexual tension, and the plot was so bland and boring that I found myself picking up other books in between order to boost morale and push through to finishing this novel.
In the synopsis, Violet is described as a liar and a morally grey witch.
When, in reality, her “lying” is not cleverly crafted, but instead something she does when the king commands her to. And even more frustratingly, Violet is not morally grey, but rather someone who likes to think she’s all badass and terrible for Prince Cyrus (don’t even get me started on how much I dislike that name choice for that character), but in reality, is not even half as interesting or cutthroat as she thinks she is.
And as a result, that made reading from her point-of-view a painful struggle, as I couldn’t get through a chapter without either cringing or rolling my eyes.
As for the plot, the things that happened either (A) came out of nowhere and made little to no sense, or (B) were so blatantly obvious that they did little for the story, and though intended for shock value as “plot twists,” ultimately failed to pull through. I just feel like everything that happened either ended up on one side of this spectrum or the other, with no in-between.
Don’t be fooled by the blurb’s claim that this is the perfect read for fans of Serpent & Dove or The Cruel Prince.
Trust me when I say that the hate-to-love romance in Violet Made of Thorns does not even come close to the enemies-to-lovers romance in Serpent in Dove. Seriously, it’s laughable to compare them. Additionally, the court machinations and the “morally grey” nature that Violet supposedly has is nonexistent, and fans of The Cruel Prince will be sorely disappointed.
That’s not to say that no one will enjoy this, as I’m sure there people who will. But it wasn’t for me.
If I had to compare this to something, I would probably compare it to A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Bridget Kemmerer, as the romantic relationships follow virtually the same patterns and the vibe is similar, in addition to the theme of curses following our main characters.
In conclusion, though I wasn’t a fan of Violet Made of Thorns, I am still willing to read further installments. Like I said, I feel like there was potential with the story, and still is, and maybe with future installments, the story will improve.
TROPES & FEATURES
- Hate to love
- Cursed prince
- Female Main Character
- M/F romance
Violet Made of Thorns by Gina ChenViolet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen
similar titles to Violet made of thorns
click on the above photos in order to buy on amazon
Let’s Chat in the Comments!
What do you think of Barnes & Noble’s YA Book Month Picks? Have there been any books that have misled you due to what works they were said to be similar to? If so, what was the book and what was it compared to?