Release date: October 18, 2016
This beauty isn’t sleeping! Sarah Prineas’s darkly imaginative retelling breaks down the classic story of Sleeping Beauty in a big, bold way. Brimming with action and romance, beautiful Rose must escape the curse that will force the kingdom to fall into a century-long slumber and fights for the freedom to find her own happily ever after.
After the spell protecting her is destroyed, Rose seeks safety in the world outside the valley she had called home. She’s been kept hidden all her life to delay the three curses she was born with, curses that will have drastic consequences if they take effect. Accompanied by the handsome and mysterious Griff and Quirk, his witty and warmhearted partner, Rose tries to escape from the ties that bind her to this forced fairy tale. But will the path they take lead them to freedom, or will it bring them straight into the prescribed story they are trying to avoid?
Rose & Thorn picks up the story 50 years after the events of Ash & Bramble, but can be read as a standalone itself. The series rests on the idea that a preordained Story ending – the regular one – is forced, unnatural and devoid of any real feeling. In this book, learning from the events of the first battle against Story, the City has closed itself off to any form of magic, favoring cold rationality to avoid giving Story any power. Griff, brought up in this way, is a methodical rational man, who has a knack to sense curses and absorb them. Meanwhile, Rose, who has been brought up outside the City by Shoe (yep, Shoe from Ash & Bramble) to be everything good and bright, is now thrust towards her Story when the protection afforded to her by the Penwitch (yep, Pin from Ash & Bramble) breaks. Now, she has to fight off the lure of Story that leads her to fulfill her curses. Griff’s and Rose’s stories intertwine in a very interesting way, and that is all I will say about it.
If you liked Ash & Bramble for its fierce characters and breaking of norms, you will love Rose & Thorn. Despite being raised sheltered and without knowing anything about herself, Rose manages to grow into a headstrong, willful and passionate girl who doesn’t need to be saved. Instead, she faces Story head-on and fights it. Griff, due to his upbringing, doesn’t know what love is, but learns how to through Rose. His story is particularly sad, and being what he is, I admire his strength. Griff is another character that plays a big role in the story, and forms a balance. Through him, we get a clearer picture of Pen’s and Owen’s story after Ash & Bramble, which made me happy.
The writing was beautiful, like the book before, and the fact that the novels rest on the idea of unexpected twists to stories means that you are always surprised with the turns of the plot. Also, cheers to breaking gender norms. The ending was a bit lacking, considering the build-up, but it was okay. Overall, it is a fantastic sequel.
Received a free galley from HarperTeen, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.