Book Review: Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen

About the Book:

Title: Violet Made of Thorns

Author: Gina Chen

Page Length: 368

Publication Date: July 26, 2022

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Synopsis: 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.

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon

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My Review:

I don’t believe there’s a reason to our destinies. I don’t believe the world is just. I believe in wolves – in con men and crowned men who wear wickedness as if it were a talent.

Violet Made of Thorns is a dark and captivating YA fantasy with an enemies to lovers romance that is more enemies than lovers. The story is so well-written, and it pulls you in with its immersive writing from the first pages. A world with magic, witches, prophesies, fairies, seers, and dark forces threatening to destroy it all, the story is a suspenseful and exciting read. It also has fairy tale vibes, and there are some clever nods to classics like Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, which is great!

I loved Violet! All sharp edges, she is a flawed and layered, morally grey anti-hero who doesn’t do anything without reason. She is cunning, cynical, and hard, and, at times, she seems more like the antagonist of the story in her actions and motivations. Her position as the king’s Seer doesn’t stop her from being bold and brazen and unapologetic. It also doesn’t make her honest, as she is often asked to lie or embellish her prophesies, and she doesn’t have many qualms about doing so. It’s really interesting because even though Violet makes a lot of mistakes and acts in a very self-serving way a lot of the time, you still root for her.

The best part of being a Seer isn’t the tower or the amenities or the access to the king. It was how easily everyone believes what you say.

Cyrus, the prince and Violet’s potential love interest, is as complicated as his relationship with Violet is. At face value, Cyrus appears to be a charismatic, handsome prince primed for his soon-to-be leadership role. However, when he lets his guard down and shows his vulnerabilities, he’s a completely different person. His best friend Dante and his sister Camilla are also layered and compelling, and their relationships with Cyrus and Violet reveal a lot about all of the characters. All of these characters, like Violet, are morally grey with their own secrets and motivations, and you’re never really sure who you can trust.

If you like enemies-to-lovers romance, this is definitely the book for you! Violet and Cyrus have an incredible amount of chemistry, and the sparks really fly when they’re together. Yet, they hate each other so much!! Even when they love each other and show their tender feelings, their antagonism toward each other is palpable. There’s so much anger and animosity between these two, but if you dig deeper and look beyond the surface, there is so much more there. Cyrus and Violet have a long and complicated history that has muddied, especially in recent years. I enjoyed watching them antagonize each other and grapple with their conflicting feelings. There are so many unresolved and unexplored feelings with these two, and every interaction is laced with this passionate undercurrent that’s fantastic!

Better to run among wolves than to be devoured by them.

The political intrigue and fight for power are predominant in the plot, and there is a ton of action and suspense. Violet is haunted by the voices who speak to her and make dark suggestions. They fill her mind with doubt and questions, and it seems there’s more at play than just her prophetic abilities. There are many surprising twists that I totally didn’t see coming, and there are several gasp out loud moments as revelations are uncovered, betrayals are exposed, and mysteries come to a dangerous and deadly head.

The more I think about this story, the more I like it. It’s so layered and dark and twisted, and after that epically intense ending, I’m super eager to read the next book in the series. Thanks so much to NetGalley, Delacorte Press, and the author for the copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. I would highly recommend Violet Made of Thorns to readers who enjoy richly layered YA fantasy.


Rating:

Favorite Parts:

  • The morally grey characters.
  • The world-building.
  • The romance.

Favorite Lines:

A good leader is better a clever liar than honorable and useless.

The only people who are nice are those who have never had to claw for anything they’ve wanted.

To be remembered as good, you have to do good. To be remembered as someone great, you have to get elbow-deep in bullshit and come out looking spotless.

Knowing the future doesn’t mean I know how to act. It just means I regret twice as much when I let something slip past me.

Recommendations:

This is a great story for readers who like YA fantasy with and enemies-to-lovers romance.

14 thoughts on “Book Review: Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen

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