March 13, 2015

REVIEW: The Thorn and the Sinking Stone ( Thorn and Dagger #1) By, CJ Dushinski

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…  


The Thorn and Sinking Stone is CJ Dushinski’s debut novel and what a novel it was. When I read this synopsis was got me was the forbidden love. The rest just added to the mystery. To be honest I haven’t really heard this book talked about in the blogging world and that is disappointing. This book was a lot better than I thought it was going to be after the first couple chapters. Once I really got into it I couldn’t put it down, the story sucked me in and kept me there until I finished the story.

“The world as far as anyone knew was covered in darkness, lit in shades of grey.”

Rain City is split and controlled by four gangs. The Black Roses, The Two Daggers, The Boat Men, and The Cowboys. They all hate each other but no one hates each other more than the Daggers and the Black Roses. Their feud has been going on since the beginning and has left the city covered in blood. With the heads of the family both dead it is left to the oldest brothers to take over and neither of them is ready to let the past be the past. They want blood for blood and the Black Prince is willing to do anything to get it.

“But sitting alone on the rooftop, I’d realized it had been more than that- much more. It was as if I’d finally been reunited with someone I’d longer for every day for nine years, thinking I would never see them again. And then, as if painted by the hand of God, there she was…”

The Black Princess, Valencia Hara has been training her entire life to be a warrior. The next intiate of the Black Roses. She has been getting ready for the day she can get vengeance for the death of her father. Valencia has a secret only her brother and her father knew. She was Cursed. She could see a few seconds into the future, making her an unstoppable opponent. When Daggers and Black Roses meet to set out “terms” of a truce the Black Prince, her brother, calls her to fight someone she never thought she would see again. The one person she knows she can’t kill. Valencia was a hard, unbreakable, bad ass character. At the beginning she was cold. All she cared about was being a warrior and fighting. I loved the moment she realized she wasn’t ready. She couldn’t kill someone. She slowly grew into someone who could see past the feud her family was a part of. Valencia realized there was someone else she should be fighting and it wasn’t Daggers. She became a character that I really liked by the end.

“I’m already in your head,” he whispered, “and you know it. I’m beating through your pulse. I’m in the air you breathe, because we’re the same.”

Sebastian Leold is a Dagger. Recovering from the recent death of his father, he is numb. Sebastian knows he is different. He will kill if he has to but he feels guilt and he can’t bring himself to hate the Black Roses. No matter what they have or will do he can’t hate them. When his brother calls on him to kill the one person from his past he can’t kill he doesn’t know what to do. He just knows that he wont let her kill him. Sebastian was a very swoon-worthy character. He was a bad ass and can be scary at times and the he comes out with lines that could leave you a puddle on the floor. While it took Valencia longer to see how wrong and pointless the feud was, Sebastian has always known it. He takes time by himself and doesn’t really want to be a part of the feud anymore. Sebastian was definitely a loner.

“Why did the thought of him affect me to the point of breaking down? What had happened between us that was so consuming I couldn’t breathe without him? Because that’s what it felt like.”

While this story wasn’t marketed as a Romeo and Juliet retelling it definitely is. I am one of the people that loves Romeo and Juliet and I think that is why I really liked this book. There are a few things that I had a problem with that can definitely be fixed in future novels. The world wasn’t as flushed out as I wanted it to be. It wasn’t clear if this was supposed to be a dystopian, which it clearly was, there were hints dropped but we never got a clear history on what happened. The side characters were not as developed as Valencia and Sabastian was.  We got to know some of them but not as much as I would have liked. While I loved the romance I think it could have been better. It wasn’t as epic as I wanted it to be. It really didn’t add anything to the characters. I just wanted more and didn’t really get it. I mean I don’t think either of them actually told each other they loved one another.

“All you know is right, Sebastian. And you’re the only person I can say that about. So, I’d follow you to the end of the world if you let me.”

While there were some problems with the plot and the romance I still really liked this story. The writing was done well and the plot was definitely interesting. It was a dystopian with some paranormal twists that kept it interesting. The romance wasn’t as great as Romeo and Juliet but that aspect of the story was good. I loved both characters and they did well together. Valencia and Sebastian are both strong independently and together. It was a great story and I can’t wait to read more.

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