Published by Saga Press on May 17, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy
Sexual Content: References to sex, very brief, abstract sex scenes
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.
Extremely compelling, ROSES AND ROT is a book that grabbed me from the first few pages and didn't let go. This is a book that kept me up late, that I read in one sitting. It simultaneously drags the reader to keep turning the pages but also manages to feel like a languid, meandering walk that you wish could last forever.
A lot goes on in ROSES AND ROT. Howard manages to weave together multiple storylines without missing a beat in any of them. Relationships are key, and toxic mother-daughter relationships reign supreme. Despite the sometimes awful subject matter, Howard has a writing style that makes the whole book flow like a song. This is a book that manages to be both beautiful and terrifying at the same time - and sometimes the beauty is all the more lovely for the terror.
Writing this review has been extremely difficult, because to go into any details would spoil the reveal for the reader, and I wouldn't want to do that. Nevertheless, ROSES AND ROT is a wonderful standalone (so rare these days!) novel, with echoes of fairy tales, difficult choices, sisterly love, and spectacular writing.Series Titles: