Title: Withering Rose
Author: Kaitlyn Davis
Series: Once Upon a Curse #2
Genre: YA Fantasy
What if Beauty was cursed, and the Beast was the only one who could save her? Don’t miss WITHERING ROSE, a dystopian romance from bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis that reimagines the classic fairy tale of Beauty & The Beast.
“As the heat finally disappeared, I felt the bloom blossom in the very core of my soul, a rose just like my name–a ticking clock hidden behind a façade of beauty. From that moment on, my life would become a countdown, and all I could do was wait and watch as the petals of time slowly started to fall.”
Omorose Bouchene has a secret–magic. There’s only one problem. At the age of seven, an earthquake struck, catapulting her into a new world. A land made of skyscrapers and cell phones. Fast cars and fluorescent lights. A land where magic isn’t supposed to exist and anyone who wields it is the enemy.
But after ten years of hiding, she’s desperate to find a place where she can be free. Because all magic comes with a curse, and her curse is time–every ounce of power she uses strips days off of her life. The clock is winding down, and the only option left is to escape to the realm of the Beast. But the king of monsters isn’t what he seems. And the more Omorose opens her heart, the more she comes to realize that the only person she may need to fear is herself.
*This is the second book in Once Upon A Curse, a series of interconnected stand-alone novels all set in the same fantasy universe.
Source: Review copy from the author via NetGalley
I really enjoyed this retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Omorose is an unusual YA Fantasy heroine because she’s not feisty and gutsy or kickass in anyway. Instead she’s quiet and withdrawn and has learned to hide herself so well she’s almost afraid to live. Because she has magic, the kind of magic that is beautiful and life giving, but that kills her a little more each time she uses it – and if any of the people surrounding her in the base she lives in, they’ll kill her without question.
It’s certainly not the usual situation Beauty finds herself in, as Omorose flees from the base, hoping that the Beast will save her. What she gets instead is a young man not much older than herself, with a bit of a temper, the power to shapeshift into various animals and a habit of scaring her, not to mention a castle full of wolves. Cole doesn’t trust her, she’s sort of frightened of him, but I loved how their friendship changed and developed as the story progressed.
I liked Omorose. Yes, at first she is rather timid and a little cowardly, but she has her reasons and I really liked how she grew and changed throughout the book. I liked Cole too, with his secrets and wolves. They’re a cute couple and I liked how good a team they made when the secrets were finally out in the open. I also liked the explanation for how Omorose’s curse came to be – and why other fairytale kingdoms suffer from similar magical problems. It did leave me wondering if it was connected to the earthquake that shattered Omorose’s old world and led to her arrival on Earth, but maybe that’ll come out in the next book.
Overall I found this an easy, enjoyable read, making steady progress as Omorose and Cole get to know each other, before extra troubles start to interfere. The romance was strangely muted, making me think more went on than was ever stated, but I liked them as a couple and the heat rating is tepid/sweet. If you’re new to this series, this stands alone perfectly well, but there are a few recurring characters to connect the tales together, and the link to the next book definitely has me intrigued.
If you liked the last book, you should certainly enjoy this one, or if you’re a fan of retold fairytales that put intriguing twists on old tropes, then give this a try. I enjoyed it and look forward to reading the next.
Withering Rose is Out Now!
Visit Kaitlyn Davis for more details.