Rose & Thorn by Sarah Prineas
Published by: Harper Teen on October 18, 2016
Review Source: Publisher, Edelweiss
Genres: Young Adult, Retelling (Sleeping Beauty), Fantasy, Romance
Plot: Thirty long years after Pen and Shoe’s tale, Story is back. Ash & Bramble #2
Review: Ah, Story, we meet again. In an effort to not spoil anything too much, let me give you the pros and cons:
- Better pacing. One of my major hang-ups with Ash & Bramble was the pacing and plot flow. The first half had a certain tone and sincerity that highlighted Prineas’ writing ability. Pin and Shoe felt like fully formed, extremely likeable characters. When Pin has her memory stripped away (and becomes Pen), everything that makes her exceptional goes with it. I realize that was Prineas’ intention, but I felt like it harmed the plot structure. Pen was too alien, and I felt like the plot never fully sprang back from the switch. With Rose & Thorn, Prineas seems to be working under the assumption that you have read the first in the series, so there is significantly less worldbuilding. It works to propel the story forward at a faster clip than the first instalment, and I appreciate it.
- Nice gender swaps. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but Prineas actively counters some of the gender stereotypes that are so prevalent in fairytales. It’s a nice touch.
- Uses fairytales to touch on deeper topics. One thing that I really enjoyed about this book (and the series as a whole) is the concept that you are not a product of external factors, but your choices. Prineas’ characters are often given expected roles to play, and most are unflattering. However, Rose and Griff’s choices ultimately define them, which is an important and powerful message.
- Pen and Shoe. If you are looking for more Pen and Shoe time, this book will not give it to you. I knew this going into it, but was still kind of bummed.
- Much of the same with a quick wrap up. Both books in this series suffer from the same issue. The beginning of the book feels significantly more fleshed out than the second half. The characters and situations seem to have greater substance, and the plot move at a more logical pace. I understand that books naturally pick up speed as the peak or conclude, but the progression left me feeling like Prineas sped through things too quickly. A bit more backstory about Rose and Griff, or a more suspenseful crescendo would have gone a long way.
Takeaway: Ultimately, I liked this book better than the first, and feel it is a worthy addition to any collection.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Who Should Snag It: Fans of the first or retellings should snap this one up.
*I would like to thank Edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review*