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.
As Seer to the King, Violet uses her skill to carefully manipulate the court with her cleverly phrased, and sometimes false, revelations. The only person who see’s her as the sometime charlatan she is is Prince Cyrus, the boy Violet rescued as a child. But thanks to a prophecy surrounding him, Prince Cyrus has to put his faith in Violet to ensure the safety of his kingdom. Using Violet, the King sets into motion the perfect plan to get Cyrus to finally settle down and marry his ‘one true love’ something that is destined to save or destroy the kingdom, and Violet is more than willing to use this to her own advantage. But the more time she spends with Cyrus, the more their constant bickering turns to something a little more… heated. Soon Violet will have to decide between her head and her heart, her Prince or herself, for there’s only so long one can outrun their fate.
Violet made of Thorns is the perfect name for this book because Violet herself is definitely a little thorny, but who could really blame her. Plucked off the streets after saving the life of the crowned Prince, she has had to pick her way up from obscurity into someone the King and the Kingdom respect. She fears her life being taken away from her, being thrown back to the street, so has made herself invaluable to the King, twisting her prophecies to allow him to change the narrative as he wishes. She thinks the more she helps the King, the looser her noose becomes, when it reality it is the opposite. She’s feisty, not one to stand for bullshit and not afraid to stand up for herself, even if that means people dislike her, basically, if you enjoy morally grey characters Violet is your girl.
The magic system and world in this book gave me full on old fairy tale vibes, but with a dark twist. Evil witches, fairies, Dragons, magic forests… basically everything to make the perfect fairy tale come to life but Chen puts a dark and modern twist on the story, thanks in large to her sardonic and witty writing style. Her use of secondary characters to add levity to the story, while also furthering the plot of our heroine was exceptionally well done, and I did find myself chuckling at times, especially when our side characters call out Violet and Cyrus for their behaviour. The story moves at a breakneck pace and I found it incredibly hard to find a good stopping point, and through it all Chen manages to keep the intensity of the story hyped up to the max, whether it be through danger, political scheming or romance.
Speaking of romance this books has one top notch enemies to lovers trope running through it, slightly more enemies than lovers I might add, but the tension was off the charts. You’re never quite sure whether they are going to kiss or kill each other, but even when they crossed the line and became lovers it wasn’t all cute, doe eyed hand holding, it was with biting, sharp teeth, the push and pull of two people who don’t want to admit their feelings and it was exquisite! It got slightly steamy in parts, and I just absolutely lived for their scenes together.
Though we almost know the ending thanks to the prophecy, I do feel like it was a little rushed. There was a lot of information thrown in at the end, a lot of new revelations, and I don’t fully feel we were given enough time to process it. However, the final chapter perfectly sets up books two and I am so eager to get my hands on it to find out where Violets story is going!