Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen #BookReview #Fantasy #Retelling #YA

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.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

What’s it about (in a nutshell):

Violet Made of Thorns is a fairytale retelling with unusual twists that are sharp, vicious, and simply unforgettable. 

Initial Expectations (before beginning the book):

I love a beautiful cover, and this book has one of the most beautiful among them. Rich covers such as this make me think that the story is an epic or high fantasy. The blurb tells of an exciting tale filled with sarcasm and wit, not to mention morally gray characters and a not-so-charming Prince. It sounds like this story will take the Disney version of fairytales and stand it on end with a new edgier version.

Actual Reading Experience:

What I loved most about this story was the fairytale quality with a twist. It was just what I expected from reading the blurb and more. It has many fairytale components like a prophecy, a prince, a witch, a magical wood, and a kingdom that needs saving. What the author does with these components is much different than I have grown to expect from the many, many Disney fairytale-inspired movies I have watched over the years. Is there a happily ever after, at least? I don’t know, as this is the first book in a planned duology, but I’m betting that the ending will be just as shocking as the rest of the story.

The first thing I noticed when I began reading Violet Made of Thorns is the informal conversational tone of the story told in Violet’s snarky, self-deprecating voice. This was a shock at first because my initial expectation was of high fantasy, and this is not how they are told – it’s the opposite. Once I got used to it, however, I enjoyed it except for some niggles over profanity. I have an issue with profanity being used in epic fantasy stories because it’s base, stands out, and is often used for no logical reason. It isn’t a fairytale or high fantasy language, but that part fits with everything else the story does.

I especially enjoyed loads of unexpected twists and turns. There are so many surprises to be unveiled in this world and story, and I just love a good twist and a shocking turn. These revelations worked to keep the pace extremely fast, and if you have read any of my past reviews, then you know I love nothing better than a fast pace – the quicker the better.

There is a shockingly steamy enemies-to-lovers romance in Violet Made of Thorns which is entirely in keeping with Violet’s character. I can’t imagine she would be involved in anything but enemies-to-lovers romance since she is far from the warm and fuzzy type. It’s a bit of a stretch, but it isn’t. I bought it, and for my reading experience, that’s what’s important. The sex scenes made me blush, but I’m the person who fast-forwards through those scenes when streaming shows and movies, so no surprise there.


Violet is the main character and the narrator. Her sarcastic wit held me enraptured, as did her terrible decisions and insightful observations. I found her magic very intriguing and will love to see that explored more in the next book.

Cyrus is the not-so-charming prince. Well, that’s not totally true. He’s only not charming to Violet because everyone else happily bends to his will after he throws a smile their way. He is a very complex character that I enjoyed getting to know, and I can’t wait to see where his story goes.

The side characters are all unique and quirky, and I loved how different each is and what that added to the story as it unfolded.

To Read or Not to Read:

If you love seeing fairytales turned on their end and enjoy sarcasm and wit, Violet Made of Thorns will utterly delight you and take you away on a fast-paced adventure.

34 Replies to “Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen #BookReview #Fantasy #Retelling #YA”

  1. It sounds amazing. I don’t normally read fantasy but I’m reading City of Spells at the moment, and it doesn’t matter about the genre, as long as it is well written and you can immerse yourself in the story.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t mind profanity if it’s used in fantasy world’s language. But look like this is good and I always enjoy curse, prophecy, and kingdom needs saving concept so I’ll enjoy this. Great review!

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  3. I’m about halfway through this one and enjoying every page. I’m a big fan of snark and morally gray characters, so Violet is perfect for me.

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  4. Great review! I’m about halfway through. It’s soo good!! I’ve had a hard time putting it down but waiting for my buddy to catch up! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That cover is so beautiful. I love that it’s told in a conventional tone, and it has some snark too!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have been enjoying a few fairytales lately, but not a big fan of steamy sex scenes. Great review, Tessa.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The cover captured my attention, Tessa. So beautiful. And I loved your description of the tale as “sharp, vicious, and simply unforgettable.” What a hook for me! Thanks for the recommendation and I’m heading to Amazon to check it out… wishlist it, at least. Happy Reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a very intriguing one for sure. I loved how it took all the components of a fairy tale and turns them upside down.

      Liked by 1 person

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