Anyone who knows me also knows my love of fairy tales. However, I know a lot about fairy tales and haven’t encountered an unfamiliar telling since reading Uprooted by Naomi Novik a couple of years ago. Until, I discovered Katherine Arden’s debut, The Bear and the Nightingale.
The Bear and the Nightingale takes readers on a thrilling journey to a northern village in medieval Russia where religion and magic coexist and where the long winters are cruel. When Pyotr’s wife, Marina, dies in childbirth, he tries for years to raise his children alone, including his last-born daughter. Vasya is a wild, strong-willed, “unmaidenly” girl with “fae green eyes” and the abilities of her grandmother to see magic all around her. Continue reading
“Happily ever after is the dropping of a curtain, a signal for applause. It is not a guarantee, and it always has a price” (Howard).
I first heard of Roses and Rot by Kat Howard on the All the Books podcast. Liberty and Rebecca and the rest of the Book Riot team are partly responsible for my ever-growing TBR list. When I heard that it was a modern fairy tale, I rushed to find it. Fairy tales are my thing. Old ones, new ones, I don’t care. Then, I saw the mixed reviews. There are many people who love this book. But, there are just as many that were disappointed in it.
Roses and Rot is a debut novel by Kat Howard that retells the story of Tam Lin, a beloved Scottish folk ballad. The story follows two sisters, Imogen and Marin, one dark, one light, one a dancer, one a writer. After surviving an abusive childhood and being apart for many years, the sisters decide to apply together to an artist’s retreat called Melete. In the beginning, Melete seems perfect, a place to reconnect with each other and to focus on their art. But, Melete is not all that it seems, and its glossy perfection is a mirage for deeper and darker magic. And it may demand more of the artists than they are willing to give. The sisters must, in the end, decide if art and success are worth the sacrifices they will have to make. Continue reading