Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Thorn and the Sinking Stone

Pages: 247
Publication Date: March 10, 2015
Source: Entangled Teen/NetGalley

Warring families. Forbidden love. And danger they can’t escape…
Daggers. Roses. Cowboys. Boat Men. Survivors of Earth's Last War, four “families” vie to rule the dreary streets of Rain City through violence and blood. Valencia Hara, Princess of the wealthy Black Roses, is raised in warrior ways with sharpened steel. But she is no ordinary Rose. She is Cursed—tainted with the ability to see seconds into the future…
To avenge his father's death, Sebastian Leold, of the rival gang Two Daggers, must face off against the Black Princess, he with his dagger, she with her katana sword. Yet a secret from a shared past leaves him unable to kill beautiful Valencia; nor can she kill him. For they once knew each other beyond their blood feud…and they have more secrets in common than they know.
But in a world filled with vengeance and violence, there can be no room for love…

Hello everyone! Happy Release Day to The Thorn and the Sinking Stone by CJ Dushinski!! This is a really crazy awesome re-telling (of sorts) of the classic Romeo and Juliet story that was absolutely fantastic! Huge thanks to Entangled Teen, NetGalley, and the author for letting me review this book, let's get into my thoughts:

Valencia Hara is the Black Princess is cursed. She has the ability to see seconds into the future which makes her nearly invincible in fights. This ability has kept her alive and now it's time to test her skills in a fight against Sebastian Leold, her mortal enemy from the rival gang Two Daggers. Sebastian's father was recently murdered by the Black Knight and he wants vengeance. However, when he's told he must fight the Black Princess, he can't help but wonder if the girl wielding the katana in front of him is the same little girl he played with a long time ago at the All Hallows Festival when they were still kids. The Black Roses want blood and the Two Daggers want revenge. There is no room in war for compassion or love.

This was an AMAZING story that put a new and refreshing twist on the story of Romeo and Juliet. I'm not sure if this is fantasy or dystopian, but Goodreads classifies it as both. It takes place in a world that has been devastated by a terrible war leaving four families in control of Rain City. The four families make up the four gangs: Daggers, Roses, Cowboys, and Boat Men. The two biggest rivals are the Daggers and the Roses (aka Montagues and Capulets). The Black Roses are descended from the samurai and uphold their ancestor's fighting code and honor. The Two Daggers are slightly more westernized and fight with guns and daggers. It was so interesting to see how the author weaved two different cultures together in the form of awesomeness.

Valenica Hara has the ability to see people's Fate Lines and see what is happening a couple seconds before the person makes the move which makes her nearly invincible in a battle. She's so kickass and strong, wields a katana, rides a motorcycle, and is unstoppable. I really enjoyed watching her develop and grow out of the sheltered world of the Rose Headquarters when she attends her first gang face-off. As the story progressed, her loyalty is tested and she has to see what the meaning of blood is and how far she will go after so many people have died for this feud between the gangs. The character development is amazing and she grows stronger in character to match her amazing fighting skills.

Sebastian Leold is also pretty amazing. The story alternated between his POV and Valencia's and through him, you see his side of the story which helps to really level up the playing field. He is loyal to those he loves and like Valencia, is willing to sacrifice himself for them. He's just an amazing character who is extremely levelheaded, a bit restless at times, and a tiny bit snarky when it comes to bickering with the Black Princess.

The romance is probably one of the biggest themes in the story and it was absolutely perfect. I loved the relationship because it wasn't the typical insta-love that R&J experienced, but rather it developed. As they are from opposing gangs, it's more like insta-hostility as opposed to insta-love. There's a bit of attraction more on Sebastian's part at first because he's hoping that the warrior princess in front of him is not the same as the rest of her cold blooded and ruthless gang. The relationship is slow building and actually starts of more as a desperate attempt to escape temporary truce than anything. And I promise, their growing feelings for each other do not stop them from throwing insults at every opportune moment.

There's also this question that is posed: Which gang is the bad one? On both sides, there are good people and bad, but I have to admit that I'm leaning more towards the Daggers on this one. Garrett (Valencia's brother and head of the Roses) is a bit erratic and willing to sacrifice everyone to get the vengeance he wants which basically means the death of all the Daggers. However, there are people like Godfrey, Valencia's bodyguard, whose loyalty to her is amazing and whose support helps keep her strong. There are a couple messed up people such as Valencia's mother, the Bowler Hat guy, the actual government of Rain City and so on.

Oh, I forgot to mention, Cursed people are hunted by the government and their police force called the Watchmen. During the initial fight, Valencia, Sebastian, and his brother Callum run into the guards which sort of sets the whole story on track in the first place. I'm not going to say much about what the government does to the Cursed, but that's definitely where this story gets its dystopian feel and of course, if you have a corrupt government you need a rebellion.

This book was such a fun and action-packed read that left me speechless when I finished the book. The epic battle scene at the end left so many questions unanswered and I am dying for the next installment in this series!
4 out of 5 stars

Foreverly Obsessed,

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