Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen: Dark and Enchanting

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.

Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen is dark and enchanting, with elements that twist the typical fairytale elements and with characters that are morally gray with a sizzle and spark between the main protagonist and her prince. Violet is an unexpectedly sharp character with an unforgettable voice and a court full of cut throat machinations. 

One of the reasons I love the story is because it changes the Cursed Prince trope, with love seemingly impossible between Violet and Cyrus and yet, these two transform from enemies to lovers even as they snap and betray each other, even as the kingdom discovers the rot at its core. The court is full of intrigue and witchcraft is portrayed both as something dark but also as something powerful and fighting the notion that it ultimately leads to evil. While Violet is dark and full of enchantment, her choices are complex and never about evil. The story plays with the idea of choices, digs deep into the well of loyalty and love, and twists all the fairytale concepts. 

If you love non-traditional fairy tales where the story is dark and enchanting, the heroine sharp and independent and with a prince who isn’t what you expect, this novel is for you, especially young adult audiences. I loved diving deeply into this story, it is rich, complex and sizzling with heat. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 fairies

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