Monday, April 25, 2016

Roses and Rot, by Kat Howard. Saga Press, 2016

Sisters Imogen and Marin had horrible childhoods, victims of a narcissistic, controlling, physically and emotionally abusive mother. Both fled home at the first chance, and became very good at what they do: Imogen writing, and Marin dancing.  When Marin applies to an elite arts program, she convinces Imogen to do the same, and they are both accepted, and even housed in the same building: a beautiful Victorian, complete with tower room.

As soon as Imogen arrives, things start to seem strange. The campus is huge, with buildings spread far apart. Each building at Melete is different and amazing- there is a castle with a moat as one lodging. The studios are equally unique. A river runs through the property, with unique bridges at intervals. There is even one bridge that stops abruptly halfway across the river. On certain nights, a sort of market is held, and people appear who seem…. different. On All Hallows Eve, all the residents take a ride across the river- over the suddenly whole broken bridge- and Imogen realizes that Melete is run by Faerie. And that there is a prize they give, but with a steep price: a chance at amazing success at their art, but they must live in Faerie for seven years, allowing the Fae to feed on their emotions. Suddenly, Imogen and Marin are in competition against each other.

The characters have to work through their issues; Imogen and Marin have the insecurity their mother beat into them, as well as issues with each other that she instilled with lies. Other residents have parent issues, as well as the decision as to whether they want to succeed on their own terms or vie for the prize. And romantic issues. It’s complicated.

I enjoyed the book, and the concept of the tithe and the Fae needing to feed off human emotions. It’s a modern fairy tale, with one dark sister and one golden. But something seemed lacking. The Fae and their world were never developed at all; except for the King, they are pretty much off stage. We know their world is dark and that is about it. They seemed like a gimmick to power the sibling rivalry and other issues. The characters seemed rather 2 dimensional. The whole book seemed to lack depth. This *is* a first novel, so I hope to see more work from this author, and hope that her work will grow. 

The above is an affiliate link. If you click through and buy something- anything- Amazon will give me a few cents. 

I received this book free from the Amazon Vine program in return for a review. 

Neither of these things influenced my review. 

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