Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Review: Roses and Rot by Kat Howard


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.


Published May 17th 2016 by Saga Press

Available: Amazon | The Book Depository (affiliate links)

My Review:

This book is a haunting book filled with longing, as the reader is invited into the world of two sisters with a troubled past. Two sisters with a somewhat but not quite rivalry, a distance between then yet a desire for the closeness that their mother always stunted.

The artist community they are both accepted to, Melete, is otherwordly seeming. An idyllic place for artists to work at their respective crafts away from the uninspired world without distractions. Yet Imogen, despite becoming enraptured with an almost perfect boy named Evan, sees periodic warps in the perfect that leave her questioning what her own eyes see, what her own intuition can sense.

As Imogen discovers more about what fuels this artistic community, the reader is likewise drawn in. In a manner almost as archetypal and symbolic as the fairy tales Imogen re-imagines for her writings while at Melete, the sisters are drawn into a heart-wrenching situation where the meaning of true love, inspiration, and art are all called into question.

There are so many echoes of many good, recent stories in this. I want to say more about the type of book this is, but to do so would spoil it for the reader. I was surprised and entranced by the world the author has created and the bond that these sisters hold.

Young Adult Notes: graphic sexual situations, expletive language, and mild violence, and suicidal topics

Source: Thanks to Wunderkind PR for providing a copy of this title in exchange for a fair review.

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