Do I really have to tell you guys how much I love beauty and the beast? Like every single version of it. All the time. Beauty and the Beast is amazing to me. Like almost every girl I know, it was the library for me.
Anyway, so when I ran across A Ruin of Roses and heard that it was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast…but with dragons. You guys, I jumped over to Amazon and downloaded it onto my Kindle app really quick. I had to finish a couple of other stories before I could read it, but I was so excited. (And now that I’m done, I’ve downloaded the second one and you guys, can I just tell you how excited I am?) So, without further ado, let’s get into it shall we?
So like in the version of Beauty and the Beast that we all know and love, this story has a tragic sort of backstory, this one makes about as much sense as the one in the movie too. So, the kingdom is split into different parts based on the type of shifter that you are. Though by the time we get to the story, no one has that ability anymore and the entire kingdom is closed off and we’ll get to why in a second. So the Prince of the Dragon Shifter portion of the kingdom is rumored to have been married off to someone in one of the neighboring kingdom, and has been gone for years. The Queen died a long time ago, and the King makes a deal with the Demon King and a curse falls over the kingdom. The castle is surrounded by a creepy forest, you can’t travel out of town anymore, it’s all a big mess.
Fast forward a decade or so and we catch up with Finley who is attempting to take care of her family after her mother gets sick and dies and her father is now sick. So, she’s a bit busy. Part of what is causing everyone to get sick is a side effect of this curse that’s been handed down by the Demon King. The only thing that helps them is a drink made from the leaves from a very specific plant that is only found in the forest. (Of course it is….) So Finley sneaks into the woods, past the briars and heedless of the beasts that roam the forest at night and have already killed more than one villager.
She is successful the first time she goes into the woods, but the next time she goes back, after an interaction with our Gaston type character, and she actually gets caught, and it isn’t pretty. It’s the “Beast” that catches her and after an interaction he drags her back to the castle to be his prisoner and we walk into a whole world of crazy. Seriously, I cannot even tell how much I wasn’t prepared for what happens.
NOT FOR PEARL CLUTCHERS. Look, if you don’t like a lot of raunchy sex (for seemingly no reason), though this is a series and it did set the stage for some interesting developments. It’s an enemies to lovers, raunchy, story that is good. I loved it, I did.
Book Club for Complicated House Plants
What genre is this book?
This book, while a re-telling of a fairy tale, is labeled as the following genres: Fantasy Fiction, Erotic literature, Romantic fantasy, Paranormal fiction.
Did you race to the end or did it take you a little while?
I really wanted to race through this book, but I had to put it down quite a bit. The writing style was a little off my taste but I was able to put it aside and make it work. The story is good, if you can get past the readability of it. That was the biggest challenge I had, which happens sometimes.
Are there lingering questions from the book you’re still thinking about?
It ends on a cliffhanger, so I have some questions about that. Meaning that I’ll probably read the next one just to figure out what happens next. That’s usually why I keep reading something, unanswered questions, and if the storytelling is good. I’m a sucker for a good story. I also want to know about the rest of the kingdom, what happened exactly and how did we get to this point?
Which characters did you like best?
I actually rather like Nyfain. And Finley’s older brother, Hannon. I felt he had a firm grip on their reality and was doing the best he could do since he was in charge of their family now that their father was sick. Nyfain was a great representation of the beast. He’s got a lot of layers and he truly seemed to care for Finley. I’m interested to see what happens next.
Did the plot proceed in a way that felt natural? Or did you feel manipulated by the storyline?
I felt like I knew where it was going, at least on some level because it was a re-telling. However, I was always relatively surprised when something new happened. I thought there were places where the storyline seemed a little contrived and that there were movements where things seemed gratuitous. They didn’t need to be there and the story would have been the same, and yet, they were there anyway, maybe for shock value, who knows?
Would you fall for either of the leads?
Honestly, no. I don’t think that I would. Which is weird for a romance novel. I mean, I want to see them together, and I want them to be able to fix the kingdom, no matter what it costs, but I personally wouldn’t be attracted to either of them. Now, Finley’s brother Hannon, a man who stands up and takes responsibility for his family no matter the personal cost, that’s a guy I could fall for. Maybe because I’m older, I don’t know.
If it’s part of a series, did this book compel you to read the next one?
I do want to read the next one. I want to know what happens to Nyfain. I want to know what Finley is going to do to help. I want to know how they’re going to fix the kingdom, which I said already I know, but I need to know what happened. Contrived as some of this book may be, I will most likely finish the series because I want to know what happened. The cliffhanger at the end serves it’s purpose perfectly. It’s not exactly a happy for now end, and certainly not a happily ever after ending, but I need to know what’s going on.
Did you like the heat level of this book?
Though at times unnecessary, I did actually enjoy the heat level of this one. But it was more the connection between Nyfain and Finley. The growing heat between them as they progress, was fantastic. I enjoyed it.
Was the couple’s connection believable?
I think so. It’s clear that there is something there, on a soul level that they’re both drawn to, but I like that they don’t just give in to it and allow it to dictate their actions. Instead the relationship between Finley and Nyfain grows because they want it to, not because of whatever cosmic connection they have. In fact Finley actively tries to avoid it. I love that aspect of their relationship.
Did the book strike you as original?
I think that knowing it was a re-telling of something else before you read it, you’d be likely to think it wouldn’t be original. Despite the mixed reviews of the way it was written, or what you think of the amount of sex and the language used, the concept for this story is amazing. It’s an original idea that follows the framework for a tale as old as time. And I loved the idea of that concept before I even read it. It’s easy to forget it’s a retelling of a favorite story if you let yourself get lost in it.
I gave this story four stars. I liked the story, I was able to overlook the writing style, which again is just a personal thing. I did like this story a lot more than it probably sounds like I did. That said, dealing with the writing style, the parts that just seemed unnecessary, caused me to rate it below a five. (I’ve never said this, but if anything ever gets a 3.5 or lower, I just won’t review it here. As a writer, I know how much negative reviews can kill the motivation and muse, so I won’t review anything lower than a 3.5)
This book got a four on the heat level again, simply because I feel like the use of smut or scenes that depict intimate relationships should be done so with a mind to the needs of the story. I have written everything from closed door/fade to black to incredibly detailed erotica. I use whichever would be best for the story at the time. I think that on certain occasions, this heat didn’t fit what the story needed. Again though, the heat was good so I didn’t knock it down any farther than four flames.
So, that’s all for today’s review. If you like this kind of story, go read it. You’ll either love it or hate it, but you won’t forget it. I’m out for now. As always, be safe, drink your water, don’t eat yellow snow, and have an amazing adventure!