Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Roses and Rot Book Review

Roses and Rot by Kat Howard

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What would you sacrifice for everything you ever dreamed of?

Imogen has grown up reading fairy tales about mothers who die and make way for cruel stepmothers. As a child, she used to lie in bed wishing that her life would become one of these tragic fairy tales because she couldn't imagine how a stepmother could be worse than her mother now. As adults, Imogen and her sister Marin are accepted to an elite post-grad arts program - Imogen as a writer and Marin as a dancer. Soon enough, though, they realize there's more to the school than meets the eye. Imogen might be living in the fairy tale she's dreamed about as a child, but it's one that will pit her against Marin if she decides to escape her past to find her heart's desire.

Review by Brittany:

This book was a bit different than I thought it would be. For some reason, I had in my head that this book would be a sort of horror novel, with Melete - the location of the arts program - being a haunted campus.

Instead, it's revealed about halfway through that the mysterious goings on at Melete are down to paranormal creatures - Faeries. This was a bit of a twist to me because I was expecting a very different type of book, although it fit in with what else was going on. Fae are my least favorite type of paranormal creatures, and I don't typically love stories that have them. However, this one did Fae extremely well. I loved all of the weird occurrences (leaves filling a room with now windows; birds that watch you only when you're not actively watching them) that were down to the Fae. I loved that they were beautiful and kind - as long as you gave them what they wanted.

I also like that this book does not have a happy ending, not exactly. As a writer, Imogen uses her time at Melete to focus on fairy tales and writing some of her own, which draws a connection between those stories and the one that Howard is writing. How does Imogen's own life compare to fairy tales? What about her time at Melete? It is an interesting way to tie it all together, and I thought it was well done.

I also liked the character dynamics in this book. Marin and Imogen have to learn to adjust to living with Helena and Ariel as roommates. Gavin and Evan, two men at Melete, become love interests for the sisters, and the story develops some of those relationships. Of course, there's a lot of focus on the relationship between the two sisters and how much of that relationship is based on their experiences with their mother.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I thought it had beautiful imagery and great character dynamics. Relationships are developed, and the paranormal aspect of the book adds a great plot line. And, completely beside the point, I love the cover! Very well done!

Notable quotes:

If you survived, you always can, and so by pained, contorted logic, what happened to you wasn't really that bad.

But there are times that you don't speak, because silence hurts less.

But there are some truths that don't just cut you when you speak them, they also stab the person listening, too.

And I knew I shouldn't let it hurt, let it matter, but it did.

Hearing things actually spoken, even when you already know what's going to be said, makes them more real, more absolute.

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