Media Type: Print Book (ARC)
Title: Roses and Rot
Author: Kat Howard
Publisher: Saga Press
Pages: Hardcover; 336
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Genre: Fantasy / Contemporary
(This borders the line between YA and NA.)
HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Everyone who loves fairy tales, especially the true life ones.
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.
To me, the testament of a good story is how long it sticks with you after you finish. My favorite books are the ones that, no matter what else you might be doing, are always at the back of your mind. Wooing you. Reminding you that they exist. Begging for another read through. Kat Howard's Roses and Rot hasn't unleashed me from its magical confines yet. I finished it well over two days ago, and it just won't leave me be. I tell you, I'm not even upset. All I really want is a hardcover of this so I can lovingly read it over and over again.
I love fairy tales, with all of my being. To be more specific, I love the fairy tales that are a bit on the darker side. The ones where people might be changed forever, or even die. The ones were love only prevails after sacrifice. That's exactly how Howard's writing captured me. Imogen's story is equal parts heartbreaking and uplifting. It deals with the definition of love, with sisterhood, and with all the blood, sweat and tears that go into passionate art. Imogen's life is revealed in tandem. Both her present, and her past, play a part in the fairy tale that she is unknowingly being woven into. It's magical, and trust me when I say it's easy to get lost in.
Which brings me to my next two points. First of all, this is a very difficult book to read at times. It does deal with childhood abuse, both of the verbal and physical varieties. Like all good fairy tales, it also has its very sad portions, so be warned. My biggest warning though, is that this book is extremely hard to put down. Chances are high that you won't want to set it down at all. So this is me giving you a heads up, before you end up staying up well into the wee hours of the morning because you started this before bed. It's addictive.
I don't hand out five star reviews very easily. A book has to truly sweep me up, in order to make its way onto my list of favorite books. Roses and Rot did just that. I'm thrilled that I was able to read this, and saddened that it's over. I'll miss Melete, and all its magic. Another read through can't come soon enough.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.