Review #352

I gave this a 4.2 overall but I’m angry. Read the whole review for why and hopefully there’s no spoilers. But there’s no guarantee. The strengths were the banter between the two characters. The weaknesses were it felt like there were some gray areas overall, holes not filled in and lots of stuff unanswered. But I don’t want to ruin anything for other readers. (It’s written in one point of view in first person narrative as a dark YA fantasy retelling). 

Here’s my live thoughts while reading. 

Of Thorns and Beauty opens to Zaina being handed over to her new husband she hasn’t met before, despite arranged marriages no longer being the norm. She doesn’t fight her situation in order to prevent Madame from taking any anger out on her sisters. 

I don’t like that King Einar is supposed to be 65 and she’s 22.  

I’m glad I found a beauty and the beast retelling that’s in first person narrative. And goodness the chapters are so short that it’ll fly by. 

I need more info of why Madame made this marriage bargain to begin with. 

There’s more sexual tension than I had expected since I assumed it was YA from the cover image. 

On page 55, Zania says: “At least I don’t have to worry about my emotions getting in the way of what I came here to do.” But what did she come here to do? We don’t know…

At page 80, it’s clear this will be a character driven novel, not plot. 

It’s hard to feel how much she misses her sisters when we haven’t seen her interact with them or seen their bond. 

Is Odger the Gaston?  

I love their arguments.

Halfway through I’m wondering how Damien will ruin it all and what secrets they hold from each other? 

Dragons?! Nice. 

Why is Damian so dangerous? We don’t know much about him. 

I loved the Festival of Lights scene 

I like seeing them get to know each other but neither character has a clear, known goal. 

In chapter 25 I’m confused because it says one of her goals has been to steal something valuable of his but this comes out of nowhere without being spoken of before. She also says that he’s not the only one running out of time but I dont know what she’s running out of time to do? 

The creepiness of the disgusting two male characters is written well but it makes me so sad that so many books portray men this same way… because unfortunately this represents so many of women’s reality. 

She jumps to a whole lot of conclusions prematurely in chapter 48. But if it’s true, then… yuck. 

Off page rape/trauma as a 13 year oldneeds to be a trigger warning 

Um I’m pretty sure there’s only one chapter left and the story isn’t anywhere near ended. I love mini cliffhangers AFTER the story has wrapped up – to get me excited for the next one but I don’t like stories that just haven’t been completed. So now I’m worried to read the last few pages. 

Yeah… I’m done and I’m very frustrated. Rating a 4.2 for the novel but 3.0 if I had to base it off the conclusion. Because there was no conclusion. It ended before there was even the big climatic scene. She poured her heart out to him about her traumatic past. They got to know each other a little and then instead of a grand scene it just …ends. That’s not how I view true cliffhangers. 

I feel like there’s two definitions of cliffhangers and one of them I hate – which is representative in this novel. I want the kind of cliffhanger that shows an entire plot arc and character arc. And then at the end the author dangles a bit more info that gets you excited about the next one. This kind of cliffhanger just cuts off the book at the 80% mark and its absolutely infuriating. I’m not angry because of buying another book. I’m angry because it doesn’t seem like writers understand how cliffhangers are supposed to work. But maybe I’m the only one who thinks this way. Anyway…Rant over.

Published by CassieSwindon

Fiction author

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