Monday, April 10, 2023

Bonded by Thorns (Beasts of the Briar, #1) by Elizabeth Helen

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Four beastly princes. One awkward bookworm. An enchanted world of fae, magic, and danger.

I’ve always loved fairytales. I never imagined I'd actually be in one.

When my father wanders into the enchanted realm of the fae, I know I have to go after him. And when he gets imprisoned, I'll do anything to save him... Even trade my freedom for his. I had no idea I'd end up imprisoned by four sexy fae who turn into beasts at night.

I have to win my freedom, and that means making a bargain with them. They must find their mates in order to break the curse. If I can help them do that, they'll set me free. Sounds simple, right?

It's not. Because against my better judgment, I'm starting to fall for these beastly princes. One is smart and sweet, the other mysterious and deadly, another flirty and confident, and the last prince... He's handsome, strong, has a wicked temper, and is dead-set against breaking the curse. Why does he want to keep me here forever?

But it's not just my freedom on the line. If I don't break the princes' curse soon, all the magic in the Enchanted Vale will be stolen by the evil—and stupidly hot—Prince of Thorns. And I'm not letting my princes stay cursed.

Not after I've fallen in love with them.

Bonded by Thorns is undeserving of its 4 star rating. I am genuinely surprised by the number of raving reviews. Why are people swooning over a story this uninteresting and problematic? Rose - Rosie - Rosalina was as dimwitted as she was dull. 

Lots of spoilers going forward! Read at your own risk. 

When Rosalina is first mentioned in the book, she's quiet and easily cowed by her previous abusive boyfriend. She tolerates his presence because it gives her some comfort to be near the man that carved his name into her arm (a fact that is never addressed later on in the book, but definitely should have been). She was willing to entertain the idea of marriage to someone that discarded her - repeatedly - as he went around and did whatever he wanted. How could she have been so naΓ―ve and cared so little about herself? Where was her sense of self-preservation? If the authors really wanted to make it believable, they should have written it better. 

“His name is Lucas. We’ve been on and off since I was fifteen, but I think it’s serious now. Super serious.” I take a deep breath. “Or at least it could have been, if I hadn’t been imprisoned by the fae.”
Going back to her personality, it's like she's a completely different person once she reaches fae lands. She's brave, courageous, stands up for herself and others - something she's never done before - and it was just too fucking unbelievable. Don't even get me started on the ridiculousness of the princes and their curse. The Prince of Thorns? Laughable. No one even blinked at him calling her "princess." Why wasn't that ever addressed? Also, why does he even care? Poorly explained, poorly executed, poorly written. 

If I'm being completely honest, I went into this one for the romance and reverse harem theme, but even that was a disappointment. If you're going to have a terrible, nearly nonexistent plot, then at least entertain your readers with steamy sex scenes and erotic content. Bonded by Thorns failed on all accounts. There were some okay moments between Dayton and Farron, but even those were short and excluded the main character. 

The dialogue was awful and cringey. 

  1. In a burst of I-just-about-died rage, I glower up at him. “How the fuck am I supposed to answer you when you’re choking me out, you overgrown tin can?”
  2. Heh heh.
  3. He wrapped his hand around my throat and choked me out.
  4. But I am no Peeping Tom, so I force my eyes up. Only, ogling his eight-pack abs and perfect pecs doesn’t seem less creepy at the moment.
  5. least death by a monstrous wolf is a bit more awesome than falling off the bookstore stool.
  6. That traitor trash panda.
  7. “He was really mean!”
I'm not even going to attempt to touch on all of the inconsistencies and grammatical errors. πŸ˜‘ The princes also kept referring to their human forms and calling themselves men. They're not supposed to be human... At least Sarah J. Maas did that right. Males, males, males. 

I went into this book expecting to be enamored with four fae princes all vying for one woman's attention, and them enjoying her separately and together. However, Rosalina was horrible. Her "bewilderment" and "acceptance" not believable for a second. It was also too similar to A Court of Thorns and Roses for my liking, but whatever.  

A man behind a mask, her being placed in the Spring Court section of the castle, cursed to turn into animals and needing to find love to break the spell... sound familiar? 

This book was a complete waste of my time and money. I hope this review saves a few others from making the same mistake. (★★☆☆☆)


  1. "carved his name into her arm." Wow. "choked me out" lol

    Love this review...

    Oh and yes to the lofi beats. I'm a total convert. I've never listened t oStudio Ghibli music though, but I'd almost certainly like it? Someone gave me a list recently of movies to try, since I've never seen a Ghibli (well, besides Nausicaa)

    1. Apparently she just stood there while he did it... and why he did it isn't even explained. The worst part is that she still wants to be with him, or at least thinks he's an acceptable option. Girl, no. Have some self respect. Her phrases were awful and always said at the worst times. A scene was supposed to come across as serious and then she would say something ridiculous.

      Howl's Moving Castle!! You must watch it first. Also, try the Ghibli background music. I use the lofi beats in my classroom a lot, too.

    2. Howl's was on the list, along with My Neighbor Totoro and Ponyo. I'll watch Howl's first.

    3. Yes! It's my favorite. My Neighbor Tortoro is really good, too.

  2. Replies
    1. Her word choices left a lot to be desired, lol.

  3. Wow! Thanks for the heads up on this one. 😬

  4. I don't even know what to say to all of this nonsense. The cover is gorgeous, but clearly hiding a terrible story.

    1. It's seriously the worst thing I've picked up in ages. You should look at the comments section on my Goodreads review. πŸ˜‚

  5. Can anyone spoil the second two books because I'm still ready #2 hoping they will start to get better but I'm doubtful.

    1. LOL! If you find someone to spoil them for you, let me know.

    2. I dont think anyone got further than i did to spoil them. Properly put me off reading need to find something to drag me out of the slump!


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“Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless