Reviews

Violet Made of Thorns, by Gina Chen

arainai's review

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dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? N/A
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

First off, I'm very thankful I was able to receive an early copy from netgalley and the publisher. It took me a while to get into this story but, by the end I was enjoying my time. 

The plot is messy in a way, as it should be because the characters are all kind of messy too. By that I mean that they aren't good or bad but mostly out for themselves or their own goals. There's a decent amount of political intrigue and I really enjoyed reading about it all. 

The characters are interesting. I can't say I enjoyed everything about Violet,  but I don't think I'm supposed to, which made for some annoying parts but also more intrigue. The prince is very princley and idealistic, they make for an interesting pair. I enjoyed the side characters a lot and always looked forward to their page time. 

This was a lot of what I want in a story but I was craving more world building. We hear about other places but don't get too deep, I just wanted a little more. Like I said earlier, I also had a hard time getting into the story and, while I know Violet is meant to be this way, Violet (and other characters) annoyed me sometimes and made dumb decisions. Overall though, a good time. 👍 

enchantedreads97's review

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adventurous emotional tense medium-paced

5.0

Such a good read you’re dumped right in! I also loved that the world isn’t info-dumped in the beginning or all at once but just as it comes up in the story. I love our main characters, Violet is such a funny and strong-willed character and I love it! Soo dang good!!

camiclarkbooks's review

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adventurous dark emotional funny mysterious slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

I received a digital ARC Of "Violet Made of Thorns" by Gina Chen through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. 

“Violet Made of Thorns” was a fun high fantasy story that took classic fairytale elements and turned them into something fresh. Gina Chen’s debut novel was well written and the plot was interesting. The characters were a little flat, but interesting enough to keep a reader’s attention. Since it appears that there will be at least one sequel, I think we’ll get more character development in a following book.

The best part of “Violet Made of Thorns” is unquestionably the titular character herself. Violet Lune was unapologetically prickly and self-serving. Although she was not outwardly malicious toward anyone but her nemesis, Prince Cyrus, she never hesitated from telling lies and spinning the truth to her best advantage. Often times, heroines are described as being snarky and narrators assure readers that the heroine only looks out for number one but that is often not the case. Those heroines are usually all bark and no bite and are usually much kinder than they or the narrator say. That’s not the case with Violet though—both her thoughts and words reveal just how unapologetically thorny her personality is and how she schemes to maintain her precarious position with the royal family in the court. I look forward to seeing Violet again in a sequel and hope she remains as prickly and self-serving as in “Violet Made of Thorns.”

If you’re in the mood for a book that’s like a more cynical “Among the Beasts and Briars” by Ashley Poston, give “Violet Made of Thorns” a try. It’s a new fairytale filled with court intrigue, curses, a refreshing main character and will leave you wanting more from Gina Chen.

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literaryprincess's review

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dark mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

After a slow and semi-predictable start, this book managed to hook me. My only qualms are wishing that our heavily marketed morally-grey protagonist was a little more sinister, and that the romance and relationships were a bit more of a reluctant slowburn - though Violet and Cyrus captured the reluctance and anger at their attraction to each other quite perfectly in the end. The romance scenes were a little heavier than what I'd expect in a YA, but still not graphic or inappropriate. A very happy medium.

I adored the fantastical plot happening, and was far more interested in the impending war, identity shenanigans, and murder plots than the front-and-center romance, which surprised me. I'm very impressed by the worldbuilding in this series and cannot wait to see where it goes in the sequel. The magic system also got off to a slow start, but ultimately became an enjoyable read.

Side characters like Dante and Camilla usually become my favorites, and this was no exception. I especially loved the diversity of the main cast in regard to both racial background and sexual identities.

Overall, it took me a long while to like this book but once it hooked me, I couldn't put it down. I'll be eagerly awaiting the next installment.

booksofbells's review

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Im sorry I have to dnf this cause i wasnt in the mood for it, and i am slumped with assignments. I dont think i can finish this, so i decide to dnf it. 

oracle_of_madness's review

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adventurous medium-paced
Thank you Netgalley and Publisher for this Arc!!

This was a whole new style of Fairytale and I loved it!

I have to say that at first I was conflicted.  The author writes a note in the beginning describing the reasons for the main character's traits..  How Violet was written to be a realist.  An in-between of good and bad. Not really fitting into a box.  So at first, I found it hard to like her character.  But after continuing to read, I wound up really appreciating her.  

Violet is a Seer for a king, and really the whole kingdom.   She saved the Prince's life at age 7 and now they have a shaky relationship usually based on insults.  However,  the land is changing and Violet is seeing scary visions of what is to come; Monsters, blood and roses. 

Enemies to lovers! An ending that I never could have seen coming! And, fairytale! What more does a reader need?

Out July 26, 2022!

surbhi_reads's review

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adventurous challenging dark emotional tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

3.0

lewnie's review

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dark emotional mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

 
Violet is a witch who uses her powers of prophecy for her own gain. Once an orphan living on the street, Violet now lives on the palace grounds in the famed Seer’s Tower. A trusted confidant of the King, she often manipulates her prophecies for the good of the royal family. The only problem is Cyrus, the Crown Prince. He knows Violet too well and isn’t going to go along with her schemes willingly. When she falsifies a prophecy about Cyrus’ potential bride, she unknowingly sets into motion a deadly curse. As the volatile feelings between Violet and Cyrus begin to look less like hate and more like love, Violet must make a decision that will either save or curse the kingdom– and herself.  

The good: While not a direct fairytale retelling, there are many aspects of well-known fairytales sprinkled throughout that readers will enjoy discovering. 

I think the standout here is really Violet. She is everything that so many readers will enjoy in a protagonist. She is unapologetically out for herself and once you begin to learn more about her past, it makes sense. Violet has no desire to change, for anyone, and she is confident in herself and her decisions. Often, this kind of characterization of female characters comes off as overly abrasive or without reason. However Violet is easy to sympathize with and her strong will stands up to the vicious court politics that Chen has created. 

The bad: I struggle with my feelings about Cyrus as a character. I think he is a good foil to Violet’s ruthlessness, however his fault is that he seems to believe this is an act for Violet. Chen has created a strong-willed character in Violet though, and she easily expresses that she is only ever acting like herself. The romance budding between them by the end of the book does make me a little uneasy as I don’t think that they seem like a good fit at this point. I do think that Cyrus has a ways to go in terms of character development though, and we could see this change later in the series. 

I also wish the world-building was a little stronger. I am still not sure I understand the complicated politics between the different countries. I understand this is heavier on the romance and the personal relationships, so I think we lose a little of that overarching geographical exploration. I am hoping that this will be explored more in the following book. I also understand that this is a debut and for a first book, I am really enjoying the development of the world and characters as a whole. 

Overall: This is a well-crafted fantasy with a fantastic, morally gray protagonist. The stakes are high and the mystery unfolding around Violet will keep readers entertained throughout. The romance between Violet and Cyrus is fiery, though perhaps a little more entertaining when they fully believe they hate each other. Overall, this is a great addition for anyone who enjoys high-stakes romantic fantasy.  

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twirlingpages's review

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adventurous dark medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

welcometomynirvana's review against another edition

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mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.5