ARC Review: The Thorn and the Sinking Stone by CJ Dushinski

Title: The Thorn and the Sinking Stone
Author: CJ Dushinski
Series: Thorn & Dagger #1
Genre: YA Fantasy / Paranormal 
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date:  March 10th, 2015
Page Count: 247 pages
Format:  eARC
Source: Publisher via Netgalley in exchange of an honest opinion.

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 Reader's Review*
My rating: 3.5/5 stars
First off, I must say that I'm absolutely in love with this book's cover and title. I love the black rose and the blood red font, as well as the dagger in the word "Stone". It's so dark and beautiful, yet simple, which I think fits perfectly to the book. Also, the title has an intriguing ring to it that it's what caught my eye in the first place, even before seeing the stunning cover. Both of these promise a good story, a mysterious tale of love, revenge and magic.

I was pretty excited about The Thorn and the Sinking Stone and after reading through it, I can say it is a good read, but not as great as I expected. I liked the characters and I liked how it faintly reminded me of Romeo & Juliet, what with the rival families and falling in love with the enemy, but I got a bit confused with the setting and I feel that the book lost its way and forgot to focus on a few key elements that I thought were the strong points of this book.

I wanted this book to show off how amazing Valencia is and to see her kick-ass left and right. I wanted everyone to fear her and think twice before crossing her path, and to develop her ability to the point of truly being the invisible person she was trained to be. With that said, I still liked her a lot. I admired that she was a strong person, one who didn't let herself be poisoned by her brother's anger towards the daggers. I loved that she never gives up without a fight, and when things get ugly, she still tries to help, even if it means helping the enemy and sacrificing her safety.

Sebastian, whose point of view we also get in this book, is the kind of book boyfriend everyone is waiting to meet. He's handsome, mysterious, kind-hearted and loyal. He was the best developed character in this book and I fell in love with him. His curse (and his brother, Callan's) is impressive and something I didn't see coming. With it, he certainly took the spotlight off of Valencia as a deadly weapon for the moment, but I still expect great things from her curse.

As a couple, Sebastian & Valencia are great and I totally ship them, though it did bug me at first that they have a love-at-first-sight thing. However, I got over it quickly and I was desperately flipping pages so I could get to the part where they finally kiss. I almost finished the book waiting for it *LOL*. Not enough kisses! Still, that one first kiss was worth it.

I hope that in the next book there's more world building and we come to learn more about Rain City and the other rival gangs. These aspects were forgotten to give space to the watchmen and Valencia's struggle to not be captured and taken into a cursed prison, and though I know it was bound to happen, I wish it could have waited a bit longer. I have a million questions that need to be answered.

Even though it wasn't a perfect book, I still feel drawn to The Stone and the Sinking Stone. I liked it and I want to fall in love with the series, so there should better be a sequel. Just a dash more of dangerous romance (not mindless) and fiery strength in a few characters, and I think it will make the Thorn and Dagger one heck of a series.


  1. What a beautiful cover! The summary sounds interesting, but it's a bummer that it wasn't as good as you expected. 3-3.5 stars is still worth checking out though. Thanks for the honest review.

    Emily @ Follow the Yellow Book Road

    1. Yes! It's a book that has a lot of potential and I've seen other reviewers love it so I think it's still worth to check out, you might end up liking it! :)