Roses and Rot: Review

Publication Date: May 17th, 2016
Publisher: Saga Press
Series: None
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Source: Goodreads Giveaway

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.

**I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. My opinions are my own. 

Where should I start with this one? Honestly, I struggled to get through it because I was bored through most of it and then when things started to pick up, the book was over. 

The plot is a generic faerie trope that's been used time and time again. Nothing new, except that our main characters are at a mysterious art commune that seems too good to be true. Imogen starts seeing things that can't be real, and she convinces herself that she is overtired in order to believe it. The problem is, other students start seeing those strange things as well. 

I think Howard has a talent for writing, but her execution is awful. For example, Imogen is at this prestigious place and she is supposedly a really gifted writer, but her work sounded like something a teenage girl would come up with. Instead, she is in her later 20's I believe. 

The relationships all felt very forced. The first time Imogen runs into a guy, she instantly likes him. When they meet a few days later, it's like they aren't strangers because they start making out. Same with Marin and her mentor. Their relationship is done off page and seemed to be very rushed. What happened to development? 

Then there was the subplot about the girls (mainly Imogen) being abused by their horrendous mother as children, which is one of the reasons they wanted to go to Melete, to escape her once and for all. I felt zero connection with any of the characters, which instantly ruins a story for me. How sad is it that I felt absolutely nothing for them, because of how selfish and flat they were? The only character I felt any feelings for was Helena, and by then it was too late. 

The only character that had half a brain was Ariel. She saw through Melete's crap and tried to tell Imogen and Marin, but they wouldn't listen. Basically, if the faeries pick you, you have to stay with them for 7 years but when your 7 years are up, you will achieve great fame in your department because of them. Ariel was the only one that made sense when she said why would you want to be famous on their terms and not on your own? It's pretty much taking the easy way out instead of working for your fame and notoriety. 

Basically, the entire book was forgettable. Nothing amazing stood out to me. If you're looking for a faerie book with a great plot and great characters, this is not the one for you. 


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