Review | Violet Made of Thorns (Untitled Duology #1) by Gina Chen (ARC)

Title: Violet Made of Thorns (Untitled Duology #1) by Gina Chen

Published: July 26, 2022

Genre(s): fantasy, young adult, romance, magic

Read as: ebook, ARC

Rating: 3

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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. (Goodreads)

I wanted so badly to love this book. It was even on my list for most anticipated books of 2022 so when I got approved for an ARC I was thrilled! Morally grey characters, oh-so-not charming princes, cutthroat royal court…the synopsis promised everything I’ve been looking for in a book.

Sadly, the delivery was as run-of-the-mill as the “morally grey” characters that were promised.

Violet was, in theory, an interesting character. Is she a prophet? Yes. Is she a liar? Yes. But the synopsis made her sound a lot more interesting that she actually is. Mostly it was just angst and making the decisions that were expected of her and palming it off as cleverness. I love YA fantasy so having such a common character interpretation wasn’t a deal breaker but when you are promised something more, something different it is kind of a let down.

The story also focuses highly on the not-so-charming Prince Cyrus. That boy had all the backbone of a jellyfish. The plot would have you assuming that he is wily and a fine hand at subterfuge but he was just another blonde, white prince thinking with his pants. Nothing interesting to comment on there.

Lastly, let’s take a little peak at the plot. The Special Girl (Violet) lives at the castle and, oooo, evil things are afoot and she is some mysterious Seer who sees bad things in the future. Does she do anything about them? Not really but she is really good at brooding and making very emotional decisions. The trees seem to be evil. I’m serious about that. Evil trees try to kill her and pretty much everyone else. Oh no, the kingdom is in danger and the trees aren’t what they seem! Drone on about that for about 100 pages longer than it needed to.

It wasn’t massively interesting but it wasn’t horrible either. If you like cookie cutter ya fantasy romance then this book should occupy you for a little while but it is entirely forgettable once you are done.

The best part of this book is Prince Cyrus’s sister. She is a lesbian Boss Bitch and did not get nearly enough page time. More of her please.

Overall, this book was good enough but nothing to get too excited about. Personally, I probably won’t be continuing to the next book of the series. The romance wasn’t believable, the plot drug, and the characters weren’t memorable. Will some people love this story? Absolutely, but it just wasn’t for me because I don’t feel like it delivered on what it promised.

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