Roses and Rot by Kat Howard
Published by Saga Press
Published on May 17th 2016
Genres: Adult, Fantasy & Magic, New Adult
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Imogen and her sister Marin have escaped their cruel mother to attend a prestigious artists’ retreat, but soon learn that living in a fairy tale requires sacrifices, be it art or love.
What would you sacrifice in the name of success? How much does an artist need to give up to create great art?
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 that 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.
My breath became faster, and I tore away from hands that grabbed at me, turned my eyes from faces gone feral and cruel in the starlight. They were no one I recognized. They were almost inhuman. Bones gone to sharp edges, fingernails to talons, hair to wings and fur to rose petals.
This book is stunning. Everything is told so beautifully. At times, it is like being lost in a dream…
This book surprised me. I knew it had something supernatural going on, but I guess I never expected it to take the turns that it did. I am not even kidding when I say that I highlighted so many freaking quotes in this book that it is entirely unrealistic of me to add them here for you all. I just haven’t read anything quite like this before, and my obsession with fairy tales knows no bounds. I am happy to have them interpreted in many different ways.
This is the thing about fairy tales: You have to live through them, before you get to happily ever after. That ever after has to be earned, and not everyone makes it that far.
For a long time, this was cataloged as “YA” fiction, but I quickly learned that it is closer to new adult than anything. Both main characters are in their early twenties, and there is the smallest bit of sexual content. Just a smidgen, but still, more for the new adult age range. It definitely made it feel more mature. Another thing that made it feel more mature was that this was really a story about the love of sisters, and discovering just how far we would go and what we would sacrifice to keep them safe. Of course there is a boy, but in the end he is almost irrelevant. This is not a romance. This story about sisters was especially important to me, because I am very close with my sister, and we have been through our fair share of tough times. The fragile relationship of Imogen and Marin was portrayed so well. (Also, the name Imogen is in the top 5 favorite names/would name a baby this of all time lists, so that was awesome.)
This is the first thing she learned: Just because someone can love you doesn’t mean they will. This is the second: It is worse to know that someone can love you, and that they have chosen not too.
There are a few short “fairy tales” told within the story (Imogen is a writer, they are hers). They are so unique, and each have twist to them, while also leaving you with a lesson. I adored these tiny stories. I could read a whole book of them. Speaking of Imogen, I really enjoyed experiencing things with her. Especially when the “bad guys” started to torture her and make her feel crazy. It felt intense to me. Everything about this book was a bit intense, but in a good way.
Anyway, I will ramble if I don’t wrap this up. Overall – beautiful, sweet, strange, unique… this was just gorgeous. But there was on flaw that really stuck out a bit to me…. I hate even mentioning it, but the end – like the big “fight scene”, if you will – was a bit anticlimactic. The build up was good, but as it got closer, it started to fall a little flat for me. But the actual end – post “fight scene”- was quite lovely. But still, I would read this again and I highly encourage everyone to read this!!!