Roses and Rot by Kat Howard
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Imogen and her sister, Marin, have both been accepted to attend an artists' retreat, complete with a fairy tale feel to the campus and the motivation to create whatever their hearts desire. Imogen is a writer, heavily influenced by fairy tales, and Marin is a dancer. Both women work hard at their craft while trying to keep distance between them and their abusive mother.
However, not everything is as it seems at the idyllic setting of their retreat. There are things in the woods and whispers of the truth about the true sacrifice it will take for the sisters to achieve their dreams. The question for them is do they try to get their dream, letting the competition force them apart, or is it safer for them to get away before it's too late?
I wanted to love this book so much but I didn't connect with anything in this story. I felt that the characters were forgettable, both for their actions and their feelings.
This book WANTS you to feel something for these sisters, Imogen and Marin, but I was never sold on their story as sisters. The whole devotion between family members was never realized and while it is a point in the story that the two of them have been apart for ages, it would have made the struggle between the two of them and their individual dreams have more of an impact if the relationship between them had any real feeling to it. Instead, everything fell flat and their struggles seemed a little too much like complaining for the sake of whining and nothing else.
Also, I don't understand how Imogen and Marin let their mother's actions come between them so much. I've never understood how responsible, mature, intelligent characters let the manipulations of a villain influence their present story. The conflict depended a lot on the struggle that Marin and Imogen felt with the specter of their mother hovering over their heads but I honestly couldn't care, not because I couldn't sympathize with their pain but because I couldn't understand how they could KNOW what kind of schemes their mother could use and then still let those lies influence them during the course of the book. I had no patience for them in that situation.
In the end, the book had some interesting aspects, mainly due to the setting and the ideas that had been clearly influenced by fairy tales. However, it wasn't enough to make me care about this book and the sad truth is that two months after reading this, all I can remember about it was a pair of whiny sisters, an abusive mother, and not much else.
Rating: 3 Stars. There were small parts that I liked but there wasn't enough of them to make this book better for me.
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