Violet Made of Thorns

Delacorte. Jul. 2022. 368p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593427538.
Gr 9 Up–Eighteen-year-old Violet Lune is one of only nine Seers remaining in the world. After one of her visions saved the life of Prince Cyrus, she was lifted into the royal court to help King Emilius with carefully worded predictions of the future. Prince Cyrus, as a frequent victim of his father’s manipulations, has no respect for Violet or her visions—but he is the subject of a well-known curse that could throw his kingdom into ruin. His return to the capital without a bride has put everything in jeopardy, as her dreams and visions become more alarming. Cyrus sets himself at odds with Violet and her role in the royal court, even as circumstances draw them closer together. The kingdom will rise or fall based on his love life, and Violet finds herself an integral part of it. The enemies-to-lovers romance ties neatly into the political intrigue, as Violet works to control her power and maintain her place at court, but ultimately romance is the only thing holding the story together. Characterizations and worldbuilding lack the nuance needed to carry the intrigue to a thrilling conclusion, leaving the sequel to pick up many loose ends. There is some racial diversity, with Violet’s mother hailing from an Asian-coded country.
VERDICT Atmospheric and steamy, Chen’s debut is a secondary purchase for libraries where Shelby Mahurin’s Serpent & Dove has been popular.

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