A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Lying only leads to more lies, and eventually they'll all come crashing down on you when the truth comes out. People won't be able to trust you after they find out you've been lying and you'll end up isolated from the people and things you care about.
Positive Role Models
Violet, who's 18, is a cynical antihero. She's not evil, and we understand her point of view, but she's ambitious, fearful, resentful, and prone to bad choices. Cyrus is privileged, arrogant, and at times hypocritical but genuinely wants to rule one day with everyone's best interests at heart. A villain acts out of a desire for power, and most other characters have good and bad points just like the main two.
People are described with a variety of skin and hair colors. An important secondary character is a positive representation of a woman attracted to women. Another positive male character is assumed to be in a same-sex relationship.
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Violence & Scariness
Fantasy violence mentions blood a lot, like a character who pricks her own finger, slices her own hand, and bites her own tongue to get blood for magical uses; drinking blood; stabbing magical beings or fantasy creatures; and scary dream images like torn-apart corpses. An attack by a fantasy creature mentions bone crunching and blood dripping from a cross-bolt wound. Real-world violence includes slapping, hitting with a cane drawing blood, and a murder by throat slitting. Sex and violence are briefly paired couple of times in mutually aggressive kissing and making out that mentions nearly biting a tongue off, blood on a tongue and in the mouth while kissing, scraped elbows, and bruising.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing, making out, undressing, petting, receiving oral sex, and manual stimulation to orgasm are described vaguely without naming specific body parts. Sex and violence are briefly paired couple of times in mutually aggressive kissing and making out that mentions nearly biting a tongue off, blood on a tongue and in the mouth while kissing, scraped elbows, and bruising. Lots of romantic tension from a love-hate relationship.
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"F--k," "s--t," "bulls--t," "ass," "hell," "damn," and "bitch." A couple of instances of sexual innuendo like "woke up wet."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Older teens in a fantasy world have wine on social occasions with some tipsy behavior mentioned. Fantasy creatures enjoy getting drunk on ambrosia, and their drunken behavior's mentioned several times. A character drinks an herbal contraceptive mixture over several days.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Violet Made of Thorns is a fairy-tale inspired fantasy about an 18-year-old seer trying to find her way through palace intrigue, romance, and deadly prophecies. Most of the violence is in the fantasy realm and mentions blood a lot in a few brief instances of self-harm to get blood for magical uses. There are many stabbings of fantasy creatures, attacks by fantasy creatures, and drinking blood. Real-world violence includes hitting with a cane which draws blood and a murder by throat-slitting. Sex and violence are briefly paired couple of times in mutually aggressive kissing and making out that also mention blood. Other sexual activity includes vague descriptions of receiving oral sex and manual stimulation to orgasm, without mentioning specific body parts. Strong language includes "f--k" and "s--t." Older teens drink alcohol a few times and are tipsy. Fantasy creatures love getting drunk on ambrosia, and some drunken behavior is described.
Is It Any Good?
This dark fantasy blends elements of several fairy tales into an intense story that fans of the genre will likely enjoy. The strongest influences in Violet Made of Thorns draw from "Beauty and the Beast," with "Cinderella," "Sleeping Beauty," and others peeking through, too. Many readers will admire Violet as a headstrong, confident, powerful young woman who doesn't back down. But others may find such a cynical antihero hard to like.
The world of the story is richly imagined, if mostly familiar. Elements of deadly prophecy, mysterious beasts, palace intrigue, and an intense love-hate relationship add tension and suspense. But some events are predictable, and there are some gaps in details and storytelling. This may put some readers off, but should be easy for fans to forgive.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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