Book Reviews

Review: Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen

You know that feeling when you want to love a book. One you’ve been expecting forever. And you do? That’s how I feel about Violet Made of Thorns. Find out my full thoughts in this book review and how I’m confirmed OBSESSED!


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.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: self-harm

I will forever support morally grey heroines. Characters who are realistic about the world we live in. Who aren’t particularly concerned with being heroic or noble or self-sacrificial. But ones who are forced to make difficult choices to save the ones they love, the only home they’ve ever known, or just simple to survive. Violet is just my kind of heroine. She’s pragmatic and clever. She knows that to get ahead requires cracking a few eggs. And there my love of Violet Made of Thorns is born.

Violet Made of Thorns asks us about control. About the intersection of fate and agency. Of ways in which we don’t fall for pretty lies or ambitious dreams. How rebellion requires us to be able to sacrifice and how, sometimes, we cannot afford to lose our homes and livelihood and family. Violet feels monstrous. She sees herself as the monstrous one. The scapegoat who’s merely hanging on by a thread. And as she sees these possible futures playing out, it’s merely cemented how we can get an image of the future and still not understand it.

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This line between truth and perspective. Between what we know to be true and the spin on its axis. Violet Made of Thorns is a story that asks us about both true choices and true risks. About this tug of war between our destiny and what we think will pass versus our individual choices – both large and small. By the end of Violet Made of Thorns I could not stop reading. I love Violet’s character, her character journey, and the fascinating world that Chen has only just begun to show us. Find Violet Made of Thorns on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


Who is your favorite morally grey heroine?

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