Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen
Out July 26, 2022 from Delacorte Press; 368 pages
Content Warning: Abuse, emotional manipulation, violence, death, casual racism, body horror, self-harm for a magic ritual, non-explicit sexual content, cursing
About the Author: “Gina Chen spent most of her life thinking she hated writing, until she churned out a few hundred thousand words of fanfiction and decided that maybe she was a writer. Her stories lean toward the fantastic, featuring heroines, antiheroines, and the kind of cleverness that brings trouble in its wake. A self-taught artist with a degree in computer science, she generates creative nonsense in all forms of media and always has a project stewing. She has particular fondness for fairy tales, demon tales, romantic comedies, and quiz shows. Currently, she resides in Southern California, where the sunshine is as plentiful as its tea shops.” (Bio taken from author’s website)
Find Gina Chen on the following platforms:
Violet Lune is the Seer, tasked by the king with reading the people’s threads, predicting the kingdom’s future, and lying to keep her job. It’s been seven years since her predecessor died, leaving behind a harrowing prophecy about the kingdom’s doom which will be brought about by Prince Cyrus, unless he finds a bride. Now, Violet does everything she can to set the king, the court, and the kingdom at ease, which often puts her at odds with the prince. With the king growing more and more feeble, and Cyrus’ ascension to king looming, Violet begins dreaming of a magical beast and the kingdom’s ruin. Though Violet may lie and bend the truth, the death and destruction she begins dreaming about is very real, and it’s rapidly approaching. As she tries to untangle the future and help the prince break his curse, Violet realizes that the tension between the two of them may be more than just resentment. Their fates are tied in the worst way, and the kingdom is doomed unless she makes an awful choice, her life or the prince’s.
Violet is unlike most main characters in the YA fantasy genre. She’s prickly, sarcastic, clever, prideful and ultimately, very human. She doesn’t much care about anyone else and works mainly to help herself. I loved seeing these characteristics in a female character because often it’s the male characters that get to be brash and rude but loveable. As readers watch Violet interact with the perfect Prince Cyrus, we see that while he is attempting to make her more honorable, she is attempting to make him much worse. Gina Chen explores Violet’s moral ambiguity skillfully and creates a character that escapes the fairytale stereotype female characters often fall into. This dark fantasy is a page turner that was tailor-made for anyone in search of a fairytale unlike any other.
(Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing us with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change upon final publication.)
PRR Writer, Frances Drye