Book review: Roses and Rot by Kat Howard

Roses and RotRoses and Rot by Kat Howard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are lots of books that I enjoy for a number of different reasons. They are well crafted, they are beautifully written, I love the characters, the setting, the themes, the plot.

And then there are the books of my heart. They do all of the things above, :and: they have that special something that makes me want to scream “EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS” from the rooftops while hugging the book tight. Total, irrational love.

This is a book of my heart. Fortunately for you, this is also well crafted, beautifully written, with excellent characterization, a fantastic setting, resonant themes and good plotting.

Two sisters: Imogen, a writer, and Marin, a dancer. They both compete for entry into Melete, an exclusive artists colony/fellowship from which some of the most renowned artists have come. They both get in.

And then things get :really: weird. Because Melete has a deal with Faerie. There are tithes. There are costs to making art, and choices to be made about just how badly one wants what they want, or how to avoid things they don’t want at all cost.

This novel is about the costs of making art. It’s about sisters finding their way, especially in light of an abusive parent. It’s about the dark side of getting what we want (or not). It’s about sacrifice, it’s about love, it’s about relationships, and it’s about how all of those things feed into one another and the art we make. It’s about finding your voice, developing your voice, and what you will (and will not) do to keep your voice, once it’s truly yours.

If you loved Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin, you need. to. read. this. novel. Even if you didn’t, it is absolutely worth your time, even if I’m struggling to articulate why I loved it so much.

:goes back to hugging book:

View all my reviews


About Lynne M. Thomas

Lynne M. Thomas is a nine time Hugo Award winning editor and podcaster. In her day job, she is Head of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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