Review of The Rose Gate by Hanna Sandvig

Synopsis:
Once upon a time, a human girl was kidnapped by a fae prince…for her own good.

I was just minding my own business in the woods. At night. As you do when your family is as messed up as mine. When I was rudely abducted to Faerie by a grizzly bear.

Okay, so he’s actually a cursed fae prince named Leith. And yes, he did technically save me from the creepily intelligent wolves that were chasing me down. But now I’m trapped at his castle until they go away, and this prince is far from charming, what with the missing eye, and the curse, and did he cut his own hair with a sword?

I suppose it could be worse. Yes, the castle and it’s inhabitants have been cursed by the Unseelie Queen, but I don’t have a fox handmaiden back home to braid my hair every day. Or dresses that shimmer like starlight. And maybe the prince isn’t so bad, when he’s not growling at me. He might even be handsome under those scars.

But that’s besides the point. I’m going to figure out the curse this castle is under, save my new friends, and get back home before I lose my heart to this beast of a prince.

Until then, I hope there’s at least a decent library somewhere in this castle.

**If you wish that The Cruel Prince was a bit less…cruel, or think that Downton Abbey could be improved by having forest creatures as staff, try The Rose Gate! This is a sweet retelling of Beauty and the Beast that kicks off the Faerie Tale Romances series.**

Review:
This book… I power read this book within two days. It was really well paced, well written, flowed well, and almost impossible to put down (alas, sleep and adult responsibilities!) This story was just perfection in both a retelling and overall story on its own– between the perfect Irish faerie tale feel to the depth of the background of both the modern story and the fae one. I loved Leith as a grizzly bear; it was far more true to the original stories while also making it a bit different from most retellings.

I didn’t see right away the connection between two characters, but I found it quite expertly done. I love how time ebbs and flows differently and how that also effects powerful magic and people’s ability to foresee. I was absolutely enchanted with this novel. The characters were well developed and stood on their own, the plot was layered and wonderful and the connections seemed solid and cleverly/slowly built.

I don’t often feel that the ending of novels, especially fairy tales, are as great as they could be, but I absolutely loved this one, and Isobel’s mentality throughout. Isobel is a strong, independent, and resourceful girl, even if she felt like she was bookish, reserved and shy regularly. Perhaps the journey allowed her to find herself, but she doesn’t give up on what is right and who she cares for– refreshing from the usual heroine.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

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