In an enchanted French chateau, Florian edges toward madness. Cursed by his jealous twin to a slow, disfiguring death, his only hope is true love’s kiss. But even if he could find a girl to love him, he could never love her back.
Meanwhile, in the Marseilles slums, Ren works tirelessly to keep his family from starvation—and to avoid the drugs, gangs, and prostitution his childhood friends have succumbed to.
When one of his late father’s ships turns up, cargo intact, it seems Ren’s family’s fortunes are improving. Instead, a double-dealing agent and a stolen rose land Ren in Florian’s chateau as his prisoner.
Bitterly at odds, the boys at first seem doomed. As time passes, though, they learn that love wears many faces, words have many meanings, and even curses aren’t set in stone. But can they break the one consuming Florian before it destroys them both?
🔸 Queer retelling of Beauty & the Beast 🔸
🔸 a bit confusing at times🔸
The Fatal Rose by Sarah Bryant is a queer retelling of Beauty and the Beast. When Ren’s mother is drawn into a magical world and trapped there – Ren quickly offers himself up as her replacement. His family needs her, and he is convinced he can escape. Time changes everything for Ren though and that’s how the story begins its engagement of the reader.
I enjoyed the overall world that was created by Bryant. The idea of a curse that would slowly disfigure someone rather than it being immediate was interesting. The fact that it would take time for Florian to become something “other” made the story more dramatic and intriguing. I did struggle a bit with a lack of back story for the magic. I’m accustomed to magical worlds having more backstory and history regarding magic. I wanted to know how it was used, how it was woven into the world, what energy is the magic? Perhaps, I have been spoiled by some of the authors I read, but I was curious.
While I enjoyed the relationship building between Ren and Florian, the pacing felt a bit off for me. Florian’s character seemed to change quite quickly – unlike the original beast – he never really felt like a monster to me. Ren and Florian became close quickly and Ren seemed to lose any apprehension he had quite quickly.
I did enjoy some of the supporting characters and Ren’s family was beautiful. There were a lot of wonderful characters in the book – sadly, I felt I connected more with the supporting characters than the two MCs.
The writing was pleasant with some beautiful and lyrical descriptions. There were a few POV switches that I found a little confusing. I feel as though the story would have been more cohesive if the book had stayed in Ren’s POV. That’s just a personal preference.
I liked the story but was a little disappointed in some of the substance.
Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) homophobia, bullying, violence, blood
I received an ARC of The Fatal Rose by Sarah Bryant via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.