The Fatal Rose by Sarah Bryant

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SKU 978-0-3695-0635-1
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In an enchanted French chateau, Florian edges toward madness. Cursed by his jealous twin to a slow, disfiguring death, his only hope is true love’s kiss. But even if he could find a girl to love him, he could never love her back.

Meanwhile, in the Marseilles slums, Ren works tirelessly to keep his family from starvation—and to avoid the drugs, gangs, and prostitution his childhood friends have succumbed to.

When one of his late father’s ships turns up, cargo intact, it seems Ren’s family's fortunes are improving. Instead, a double-dealing agent and a stolen rose land Ren in Florian’s chateau as his prisoner.

Bitterly at odds, the boys at first seem doomed. As time passes, though, they learn that love wears many faces, words have many meanings, and even curses aren’t set in stone. But can they break the one consuming Florian before it destroys them both?

14+ due to adult situations

 

Excerpt:

Ren glared at his retreating back. The dog followed her master for a few steps and then stopped, turned her soft, questioning eyes back to Ren and waved her tail a couple of times.

Well, at least one of them isn’t an asshole, Ren thought.

When the Master realized that neither his dog nor Ren were following him, he turned around with an exasperated grunt. “You’re too old to sulk like a child.”

“And you’re old enough to say ‘please’,” Ren shot back.

The Master laughed incredulously. “You’re a demanding one!”

“Says the guy who kidnapped my mother because of a rose.”

The Master uttered something in between a sigh and a growl. Then with an exaggerated bow, he said, “Very well. Will you please do me the honor of accompanying me to the dining room, monsieur?”

He spoke with a pointed irony that made Ren want to refuse, but that really would have been sulky and childish. So he said, “You’re the Master. I can’t say no, can I?”

The Master let out an exasperated sigh, whistled to his dog, and then turned and began walking again.

This time, Ren followed, trying to keep track of the twists and turns they took to reach the dining room. By the time they arrived, he was fairly confident he could retrace his steps if need be.

The heavy door opened in front of them, and the Master strode inside without pause.

Ren, though, stopped short at the sight of the room. At lunch time the room had seemed ostentatious, but that had been nothing to the picture it currently presented. The linen runner on the table was gone, replaced by a blue brocade cloth that fell all the way to the floor. Gleaming silver candelabra full of indigo tapers sat on every possible surface, lighting the room almost as brightly as electric lamps would have. The table, as Ren had come to expect, was covered with dishes, this time surrounding a huge roast leg of something that had a cloven hoof. At one end of the table, two places had been set across from one another, with cobalt-rimmed plates, heavy silverware, and several cut-crystal goblets each.

The Master took one of the places and indicated to Ren to take the other as the dog retreated under the table.

Reluctantly, Ren sat, watching the man as he uncovered dishes. Most of them looked heavy, smothered in sauce, but then he lifted the lid on a tureen, and Ren was hit with another familiar smell. It was a bowl of mussels, cooked like they were in all of the cafés along the Marseilles docks, complete with a side dish of frites.

“Are you sure you aren’t hungry?” the Master asked Ren.

“If I had been, that would have been the end of it,” he said, nodding to the bowl of mussels.

The Master stilled for a moment, staring at him. “Is this not one of your favorite dishes?”

“Yes!” Ren snapped back. “And do you have any idea how creepy that is? Who’s making all of this stuff? And how do they know what I’m going to like, when I’ve barely been here a single day?”

The Master regarded him for a few moments, and then he picked up a carving knife and cut slices from the roast, piling them on his plate. It was only when he’d filled the rest with some of the side dishes that he answered. “The cook’s name is Cerise, and please don’t blame her for unnerving you. For so long, she’s had so little to do. She has … a kind of a gift, for discerning which foods someone will prefer. She only wants to make you happy.”

Ren dragged a hand through his hair. “Do you realize what you’re saying?”

“More or less.” The Master answered calmly, pouring himself a glass of wine from a crystal decanter and then offering it to Ren.

Ren shook his head—he had no desire to lose any kind of control in this place.

The Master shrugged and sipped from his glass. Then he cut into the meat and took a bite.

Ren could just make out his chin beneath the cowl, his jaw working as he chewed and swallowed. The skin looked oddly smooth for an older man, and very pale, but that was the most he could see.

“Food will hardly make you happy,” he said, “when you do not want to be here at all. But again, that is not Cerise’s fault. Your refusal to accept the only comfort she can offer will hurt her, and for what?”

Ren sighed and pulled the bowl of frites toward him. He picked one up and nibbled it while watching the Master eat. The man carefully kept his cowl in place all the time. At last, Ren asked, “Why do you cover your face? I mean, you live with a bunch of tree/human hybrids who seem to have known you for a long time. They must not care about whatever you’re hiding. So don’t do it for my sake—I mean, I’m not some girl you’re trying to impress.”

The Master stopped eating and regarded Ren for a long moment, his stillness that of a startled deer as it deliberated whether or not to run. “You don’t know what you’re asking,” he said at last, his voice very low.

“I know exactly what I’m asking,” Ren snapped. “If I have to stay here with you till the end of time or whatever, I might as well know what you look like.”

The man was still and silent for another long count. Then, without a word, he pulled the cowl back and let it drop around his shoulders.

Ren froze, stunned—because of all the things he’d imagined the Master might have to hide, youth and beauty had never been among them.

Product Reviews

Score: 4 out of 5 (based on 32 ratings)
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4/5
Definitely recommend
Written by Rhiannon O on 6th Sep 2022

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4/5 Stars

5/5
A beautiful and magical queer retelling
Written by Blanche M on 6th Sep 2022

Cursed by his brother in a lonely castle, Florian is losing his mind. Because the only way to break the curse is true love's kiss, and even if a girl fell in love with him, he could never love her back. Ren is working hard to keep his family alive, trying very hard not to fall into prostitution or drugs. When one of his father's ships returns, fortune seems to smile upon him and his family again, until his mother disappears because of a rose. Ren is forced to go to a strange castle to rescue her and finds himself trapped there... I've read too many Beauty and the Beast retellings to count, but I love them so much that I keep wanting to find more. This one did not disappoint! Of course, since we all know the story so well, some points are predictable. But this one had a twist I did not see coming that I absolutely loved. The characters are really fascinating and quite well written. They both have dreams and hopes and I loved how they evolved throughout the story and with one another. The romance was soft, innocent and deeply genuine in a way that really touched me. The queerness of it all was very well introduced and made perfect sense. I really enjoyed the story and the writing that really pulled me into this beautiful and dangerous world. The magic and curses were quite unique and I loved the way the author revisited the original story. The fact that it was set in the South of France also tugged at my French heartstrings even if the side that is depicted here isn't the best. The end drew a few tears of emotion from me and I would love to read other books by this author! I really recommend if you like queer retellings! "I love you so much that it's even worth losing you." TW: death, blood, violence, kidnapping, child abuse, SA, homophobia, transphobia

4/5
Good pace
Written by Ashley H on 31st Aug 2022

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. (via Netgalley) I enjoyed this. Set at a good pace and I read the entire thing in one sitting.

5/5
Highly recommended
Written by Jenny R on 18th Aug 2022

This fantasy story is very reminiscent of "Beauty and the Beast" in its basic idea, but differs greatly from this well-known story in many details. Despite the young protagonists, "The Fatal Rose" feels very dark and dramatic at times, contains a lot of fantastic elements and a lot of queer characters. The story is mostly told from Ren's point of view, but there are also short sections from Florian's point of view. Ren is a handsome 17 year old boy who has been living in the poorest area of ​​Marseille since his father left the family many years ago. He feels responsible for his mother, his little sister who is seriously ill and his grandmother, who is increasingly suffering from dementia, and tries to keep the family afloat with his jobs. By an unfortunate coincidence, his mother is being held in a castle and Ren takes her place because his family needs her more than him. While he doesn't believe in magic at first and hates the castle's "master" Florian for his cruelty, over time he comes to realize that Florian is just as trapped in this castle as he is. But while the two become friends and slowly build trust in each other, Florian's lifetime is running out... Ren is a protagonist that you fall in love with after just a few pages. Life has been anything but kind to him, his everyday life is a constant struggle and his previous experiences have made him very suspicious of other people, but he still treats people with a lot of patience and kindness. I could feel his love for his family, especially his little sister. I also really liked Florian. He's very withdrawn and fragile, both physically and emotionally, and I loved following Ren as he gradually breaks down Florian's wall and shows him how valuable and lovable he really is. The supporting characters like Chou, Emi, Tilleul and Bouleau felt authentic and helped the main story. What I really liked about this story was how the curse placed on Florian and his employees affects them, deviating from the original narrative in a very innovative way. Still, roses play a prominent role in the plot in many ways. I also really liked how Florian's castle and the magic of his world fit into Ren's 21st century reality. I liked the many queer characters and how unobtrusively some of them were woven into the story. While the story was gripping throughout, it felt a bit lengthy at times; in particular, the first third could have been shortened a bit. At the end of the story I was still missing a few hints and background informations that I would have liked to know more about. All in all, however, this was a successful romance story that I can recommend for young people from around 16 years of age and adults. Conclusion: A romantic, dramatic and deeply emotional queer reimagining of "Beauty and the Beast". The story centers on two boys who must accept their sexual orientation and their own worth in order to have a chance at happiness. Highly recommended 4.5 stars.

5/5
I loved this book so much!
Written by Cheyenne S on 16th Aug 2022

***This review may contain spoilers*** “You … want me to read to you?” “Yes. I want you to read me your favorite book.” Oh, my goodness! My heart, at those words, just flew right out of my chest. I loved this book so much! I knew right from the prologue that I was going to love it. I don't mind the whole insta-love thing, so that didn't bother me. In fact, I'd prefer we get right to the happy and lovey stuff. My husband and I fell in love instantly and were saying it to each other probably a couple weeks after meeting, and that was 15 years ago, so it doesn't feel unbelievable to me.

5/5
5 stars
Written by Amber on 26th Jul 2022

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of The Fatal Rose by Sarah Bryant.. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Netgalley for providing an ARC to review. The Fatal Rose is a retelling of the fairytale Beauty and the Beast, but it was the creative filling out the narrative which elevated The Fatal Rose to something unique. Florian and Ren were so well developed that the time flew by, and I was very invested in them attaining their happy ending. But it was not just the OTP (one true pairing) that I enjoyed. The creation of the cursed castle and its inhabitants was fascinating and helped flesh out the beautiful world-building. I give this book a solid 4.5/5 and would happily read another work by this author.

4/5
4 stars
Written by Jade on 18th Jul 2022

There was rich worldbuilding that I sincerely enjoyed. The chemistry of the characters was also a shining point of this novel. The start was a bit hard to get through but it definitely increased in quality after that. I also enjoyed the stakes of the novel and I always love a twin revenge story. The writing did a wonderful job at conveying the overall aesthetic and themes of the novel without seeming too purple-prosey.

4/5
4 stars
Written by Alina on 18th Jul 2022

The Fatal Rose is a sweet modern YA adaption of the Beauty of the beast with two male protagonists as main characters. Ren and his family are dirt poor and barely survive in the slums in Marseille. Florian was enchanted by his twin brother and now lives for around 300 years in a magically hidden chateau in the woods with his magically altered house staff. The two meet in a similar way as in the fairy tale and slowly anger and hate from Ren and fear and despair from Florian becomes love. It is a very sweet story, although at some points also very dark-sided. It is a slow-burn, and story about learning about the feeling of love and sexuality. The relationship did not feel like it was a result of Stockholm syndrome, and consent in the (inexplicit) sexual scenes was very outspoken, both things I highly appreciate. As always though, with characters that lived for ages already, the age gap feels weird to me. Florian is around 300 years old, but the author decided to let the characters stay at their age when they got enchanted so he is a teenager like Ren is. This for me is always a little bit of a stretch to imagine, because I know magic, but he still lived through this whole time and made certain experiences which is a part of maturing. It can the argued though that because of his upbringing Ren also had to mature fast and is not your typical teenager, so it did not bother me that much. The story has a nice pace and is beautifully written. I liked the new interpretation and ways in which the story was unique to the original. It has the right amount of hurt so that it is still a cosy read for a rainy day that makes you all giggly for Ren and Florian because they are so incredibly sweet to each other. Only the main antagonist was kind of an easy obstacle at the end which took away his powerfulness for me. Afterward, the whole ending was a little bit too sweet for me personally, but I suppose very fitting for a happy ever after.

5/5
5 stars
Written by kat on 18th Jul 2022

I should start by thanking NetGalley and Evernight Publishing for providing me with this amazing book in exchange for an honest review! Now to the important part. The synopsis is terrible! If I was going by just that I would have never read the book. And because of that, I don't suggest you to either. Just go in blindly! This book is a gay retelling of The Beauty and the Beast. I have quite a hard time with retelling because usually, they are similar to each other, being it regarding the concept, the writing style, or the cliché scenes. In this one, the concept was of a usual curse, but the writing made it feel so magical and surreal! I marked so many passages and even writing this review I went back to read them and I just wanted to cry, swoon, squeal and laugh with these characters (especially Ren and Florian)! In the 338 pages, the story never felt rushed or too slow. There was always the right amount of descriptions, character interactions, and romantic scenes. I got through it in a day and I never once felt anything but utter excitement to get to the next page! My asexual heart was so obsessed because of how someone can write a 338 page romance novel and never once make sex a priority (there wasn’t even one sex scene in the whole book!!)! The relationship between Ren and Florian was never forced and it grew with time. We get to see all the little things that make a relationship grow into what is gonna be a life partner. Also, we can’t forget about the amazing trans rep that this book has! There’s family bonding, found family, and a curse to break and all of this is done beautifully! I just can’t stop praising this book I swear!

4/5
4 stars
Written by Sandy on 13th Jul 2022

I have read a lot of beauty & the beast retellings but this was the first MLM one I read. I loved it. It was a quick, cute read. You really feel for the characters and start to wonder if the curse will ever be broken. The book is nothing special, in the case that it is a retelling. It still has it unique points. loved it!

5/5
5 stars
Written by Kitti on 7th Jul 2022

This book is in the running for this year's best read for me. My all-time favourite trope when it comes to books/stories is hurt/comfort, and this book was just the right amount of hurt and the perfect amount of comfort. Ren's strength and bravery, Florian's determination and kindness, the beautifully written story... It was nothing short of perfection. It took me an embarrassingly long time while reading to realize that this was a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but when I did, I got worried, because I don't like that story, at all. But in The Fatal Rose they changed all the things I didn't like about the original, and the result was a story I loved with all my heart. I read the last 3% of it for hours, literally, always putting it aside after a sentence or two just so it would last longer, and when it was eventually, inevitably over, I couldn't help but feel sad. An absolutely heartwarming read, characters you can't help but adore, genuine relationships, communication...! So many stories nowadays lack communication so badly that it becomes annoying, but in The Fatal Rose, the characters actually communicate with each other (instead of sweeping their problems under the rug), and it is such a delight, especially the communication between Ren and Florian. Words can't describe how much I have loved this book, it landed among my favourites, and I'll be recommending it left and right any chance I get, because this is wonderful in every way.

4/5
4 stars
Written by Devin on 1st Jul 2022

This was a fantastic queer spin on Beauty and the Beast. The fantastical elements that were weaved in here gave it new life without straying from what makes the fairy tale beloved. While the dialogue felt strained at times, Bryant was able to create some truly beautiful and emotionally compelling scenes that kept you wanting more. The source material is admittedly slow-paced, and even though The Fatal Rose starts the same way, it gains momentum that ties up wonderfully in the end. Although I'm not usually a fan of the "homophobic family member" trope, there was a slice of accurate historical romance here that made it authentic without going over the top. It was tackled in a way that still allowed Florian to grow and heal in a healthy manner. Much appreciated. I was also keen to see a sex-positive book for LGBTQIA+ YA. It's so important to have examples of that in today's climate, and it was done quite tastefully. The Fatal Rose is a great example of how to modernize a classic story and make it accessible to queer people. Well done.

4/5
4 stars
Written by Luka on 1st Jul 2022

Thank you to Netgalley for this ARC. This is a cute, queer Beauty And The Beast-ish retelling. Though is this story the beast isn't unlikable or "ugly" which I kind of expected him to be, but I didn't really mind that. A retelling doesn't have to be just like the original (why would you read a retelling if it was the exact same in the first place.) The characters are very adorable, there's a lot of queer rep, the romance is cute, and the story is great! I kind of wish it was longer. I wanted the romance to be more slowburn, but maybe that's just me. All in all it was a very enjoyable read, and I highly recommend it!

5/5
5 stars
Written by Janalyn on 27th Jun 2022

Ren is a 17-year-old waiter at the local bar. He works there to help get Food for his mom granny and little sister. When his mom gets a phone call saying one of his dad‘s lost ships had been found and that she must go so she can claim the bounty. Needing money desperately the mother plans to go, but Rin will not let her leave until she takes the only cell phone the family has and only after he put a tracking app on the phone. Excited for the money she will get she asked Ren and his little sister what can she get for them while in town they both say just come home safe and when she insists Rin says get a rose 4 Em. When she doesn’t return, her little family is beside their self with worry. Not being able to sit there doing nothing Ren decide to go out there his mother. He borrows his cell phone from his Turkish neighbors downstairs and tracks her to a lonely mountain. This is where Rin will encounter the strangest person he has ever met while walking in the woods he sees a May it in surrounded by a gate and by the gate he find his mom‘s cell phone. When he walks into the mansion he is making his way through looking for his mom when a man Bellows what are you doing in my home! This will start the best and the worst time in Brands life. This is a beauty and the beast reimagining instead of the traditional man and woman it is a love story with two men. I love beauty and the beast it is my favorite Disney story and I am always critical of retellings but I thought this one was so I want to say beautiful even though it’s a book and I don’t know why. It was so nicely written the love story was authentic and although that was magic it didn’t seem over-the-top or ridiculous it seemed organic if that makes sense. I wish I could find this book and post it on my wall oh I love this book it was magical beautiful romantic I loved it and the plot was done so intelligently. I love original plots and although this is a retelling I thought this was so original. Until now I thought Laura Burton had the best beauty and the beast reimagining but this one totally comes close second and there’s no third. I love this book la blah blah of this! If you love the retail retailings in authentic romance with a little magic you need to read this book. It also has 28 each other which is always a bonus. Please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review but all opinions are definitely my own I was given this book by net galley and the publisher but I am leaving this review voluntarily. #Fatal rose,#SarahBrian, #NetGally

4/5
4 stars
Written by Linda on 27th Jun 2022

Beautiful retelling of an age old story. Beautiful setting, lovely characters (even the 'beast' is lovely,) and an unbreakable curse unless true love is found. All the correct ingredients for a story made modern and yet still mired in the past. If you love retellings, especially with M/M main characters, then I wholeheartedly suggest giving this one a try. Thank you to NetGalley and Evernight Publishing for a copy of The Fatal Rose in exchange for an honest review.

5/5
5 stars
Written by Luka on 27th Jun 2022

This book was great, i loved ren he is the best. And his relationship with Florian was super cute and very sweet, never thought of a queer beauty and the beast retelling would be as good as this

4/5
4 stars
Written by Caitlin on 27th Jun 2022

The Fatal Rose is a delightfully queer retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The cast of characters includes multiple queer identities, each of whom have their own paths and stories. While it doesn’t necessarily delve greatly into the struggles of being queer, it does make for a wonderfully romantic read in an atmosphere of love and acceptance. The main characters, Ren and Florian, come from vastly different worlds, but they come together under a curse and the story of their affections blooms from there. Along the way we meet people who are similarly cursed and watch as Ren navigates these new relationships and struggles with his own feelings. I adored this read because the romantic element was so heartwarming and Ren’s emotional development was so real and brilliant. I appreciated it as a queer adaption of a beloved tale and enjoyed the sweet romance between our leads. If you’re a fan of fantasy and fairy tales, this book is for you!

4/5
4 stars
Written by Tasmin on 21st Jun 2022

One of the best beauty and the beast retellings I've read. It didn't feel forced. The relationship between the two of them felt organic and real. It was nice to see a twist to a fairytale and it done right. The halflings were such a cool idea too. Along with the picking of the rose. It made so much more sense that picking a rose and then facing the consequences because the rose was a human once. I really enjoyed reading this.

5/5
5 stars
Written by Ellen on 21st Jun 2022

*Received as a free ARC* This was such an excellent book! Somehow, I wasn't imagining the time jump, but it made the story so much better! Florian's struggle to come to terms with his sexuality is one many people, especially teenagers, can relate to. The notes of drama and romance hit just right against the fantasy. I would highly recommend reading this as soon as possible!

4/5
4 stars
Written by Torey on 18th Jun 2022

Overall, I enjoyed this novel. I thought the descriptions of the chateau were beautiful and enjoyed the characters, though I would have liked to learn more about Florian overall. It was a great easy to understand, gripping and quick read.

4/5
4 stars
Written by Melissa on 18th Jun 2022

Alright. First, overall: I enjoyed this book quite a bit. YA isn't my thing, so there were very YA-specific things that had me rolling my eyes, but that's fine. The representation in this book was nice to see. The plot very closely followed Beauty and the Beast, so there wasn't much to anticipate besides the obvious ending--which is totally fine. All of that said, hang your disbelief up at the door because I had trouble suspending it adequately for the first couple of chapters. The prologue went from huh to wtaf in record time and a fair amount of the set up was.. hard to take as anything other than 'author said so, hence it is.' And that's fine. I get that some stories are like that. It just.. had this not been a netgalley review for me, I might not have given it a chance beyond the first chapter. Glad I did, though.

5/5
5 stars
Written by Eliana on 18th Jun 2022

This was such a cute but meaningful book. I always love Beauty and the Beast retellings, especially when they're gay. I think that they can be so powerful because they explore the depths of human character while also having romance and the development of trust. This had those things, it showed identity and how it changes after a terrible event, then how to grow afterward. This had a powerful message alongside a sweet romance.

4/5
4 stars
Written by Michelle on 18th Jun 2022

The Fatal rose is a modern day take on beauty and the beast Ren and his family are poor and live near the docks and he works hard to keep food in their table to help out his mother One day a call is received that says that a ship that he been his dads was found and there was a fortune on it and that the mother had to go to Nice to get it. Little did they know that it was a trap and the mother escapes into the woods and falls into another trap. She initiates her own curse inadvertently and the story moves on from there. If you have an issue with gay romance then you should keep moving on but this was a really good book!

4/5
4 stars
Written by Lana on 18th Jun 2022

A fatal rose gives an original twist to a fairy tale that everyone knows through and through. Although the story was a bit cliché, it did not bother me at all. It actually felt very sweet at the same time. There are plenty of new elements, such as the origin of the curse and the queerness of various characters. There is also a lot of originality in the appearances of the secondary characters. Both Florian and Ren also go through a lot of personality developments, it is nice to follow their search for themselves and love (as well as learning and daring to believe that they are indeed capable of love and are entitled to it) from close by. It takes a while before you really start to learn (in more detail) about what is going on in the castle, but once halfway through, I really found it hard to put this book down. It reads very smoothly. One thing I didn't really get though is why Ren is so bent on making up for all the things he missed because of dropping out of school (I know education is important but I don't see how it fits into the rest of the story). The reason why I keep my rating at 4 stars is because I would have liked a little more action as well, besides the emotional journey of the characters. I also didn't feel that I was getting very attached to the characters, although they didn't leave me indifferent either, absolutely not. So I can only recommend this book to people who are looking for a familiar story with a new twist, where the original Beauty and the Beast story is still very much present, and who are not looking for a sweet story.

5/5
5 stars
Written by Jeffrey on 18th Jun 2022

Beauty and the Beast have gone under a radical change in this gay version of the beloved classic. Despite some minor changes concerning the characters, everything else is there. However, the Beast has to make a boy fall in love with him. The rest is history. I loved the creative way the author developed the whole plot and also how she managed to keep the charm alive.

4/5
4 stars
Written by Chani on 18th Jun 2022

I'm a huge fan of retellings, and an MM Beauty and the Beast retelling sounded right up my alley. This book does a great job taking the original tale and morphing it into something believable for the modern-day. The changes made to the curse all made sense, and were interesting. I was also a big fan of Ren right from the start. He had a lot of personality and felt very realistic. I didn't get the same strong connection with Florian, but that might be because he had an old feel about him that most likely was done on purpose since he's been alive so long. I loved the prose, the descriptions were all well done and I could easily picture things. The dialogue after around twenty percent was stilted at times, but not bad by any means. To avoid spoilers I won't say much about plot, but I was quickly invested in them getting their HEA, especially Ren, who again, I loved from the start. All in all, a solid retelling with an enjoyable cast, a lush world, and a couple you find yourself rooting for. Definitely recommend for anyone who loves looking for all the tiny differences authors make in retellings. I would read another book by this author for sure.

5/5
5 stars
Written by Kae on 18th Jun 2022

This was such a lovely surprise. I expected this to be a decent and fast little read but I was utterly charmed by it. It's a sweet story with an endearing cast of characters and the romance is adorable. I really enjoyed this one and was kept interested throughout.

4/5
4 stars
Written by Brittney on 18th Jun 2022

It’s now a week into pride month, and how better to celebrate than a queer retelling of Beauty and the Beast? When it comes to fairy tales, there are not a lot I can think of that are more rife with source material for reimaginings, than a story about a beautiful maiden who comes to love a hideous beast. My love for monster romance aside, that’s just a great premise. However, as I’ve gotten into discouvering more queer fiction I haven’t yet encountered many fairytale retellings, let alone ones that stay firmly rooted in YA. As such, I wasn’t too sure what to expect with The Fatal Rose. However, I was most assuredly, pleasantly surprised. As a story, this has all the pining I could want. The progression of the relationship between Ren and Florian, from their initial antagonism, to later friendship, and final romantic involvement was just cute to bear witness to. I’m always a sucker for a protagonist caught up in a “he loves me, he loves me not” mental loop; and this story had two of them! However, it also touches on themes of objectification, gender identity, and bodily autonomy in a way that didn’t feel heavy handed. My one little quip is that I really didn’t like the dream sequences, because they just felt like a McGuffin to move the story along. A deus ex machina, if you will. Which were absolutely not necessary and just became addedages of exposition. But, in all honesty, that is such a small thing when compared to the enjoyment I got from the rest of the novel. Overall, a really fun book to pick up if you’re looking for an easy, yet fantastical read.

4/5
4 stars
Written by Camilia on 18th Jun 2022

I really enjoyed reading about Florian he was a pretty good mc, the writing was good and easy it made the book a pretty quick read, and I think it was a very original take on the fairytale. Now the reason I gave it a 'lower' rating, is becasue I didn't particularly enjoy the romance between the mc and Ren. I thought the pacing of it and their chemistry wasn't very well done and it took ma out of the story quite a lot at times.

4/5
4 stars
Written by Karen on 10th Jun 2022

While there were a few plot points I wasn't a fan of (the dreams, Saule), overall I really enjoyed this Beauty and the Beast retelling. I loved Sarah Bryant's take on the curse and was thrilled that someone FINALLY decided to explain why picking a flower is such a big freakin' deal!

5/5
5 stars
Written by Amber on 10th Jun 2022

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of The Fatal Rose by Sarah Bryant.. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Netgalley for providing an ARC to review. The Fatal Rose is a retelling of the fairytale Beauty and the Beast, but it was the creative filling out the narrative which elevated The Fatal Rose to something unique. Florian and Ren were so well developed that the time flew by, and I was very invested in them attaining their happy ending. But it was not just the OTP (one true pairing) that I enjoyed. The creation of the cursed castle and its inhabitants was fascinating and helped flesh out the beautiful world-building. I give this book a solid 4.5/5 and would happily read another work by this author.

4/5
4 stars
Written by Meg on 6th Jun 2022

Gahhh this was super cute: Beauty and the Beast but make it gay! Florian is your average 18 year old... if by 'average' you mean over 350 years old and horribly, irrevocably cursed. Florian can see the light at the end of the tunnel and is chagrined to find anything, or anyone, able to stop him from reaching it: enter Ren. Sweet, down on his luck and cursed with exceptionally good looks, all Ren wants is to keep his family fed and safe (without resorting to anything illegal). So when a mysterious ship once belonging to his long-deceased father filled to the brim with riches washes ashore, Ren feels that the situation is just too good to be true. Ren and Florian could not have met under worse circumstances, but from their anger and despair maybe something beautiful can grow. And although all Florian has ever known in his life has been thorns, perhaps Ren can help him to see the beauty that is in his life, or maybe the clock will run out on their real life fairytale. I really enjoyed this read, a sweet YA fantasy about two boys from literally two different worlds coming together to save one another. A great read for fans of Beauty and the Beast or just retellings in general!