Here's the second set of fairy tales, companion to Five Glass Slippers:
A ship bearing the souls of sinful sailors drifts upon a ghostly sea. An abbey looms as the final defense between mortals and ghouls of the underworld. In the stillness of a throne room, statues stand forever frozen in a moment of terror. Monsters and men stalk their prey deep in the jungle’s shadows. A rose blooms in the dead of winter, sheltered in the ruins of an ancient Scottish castle.
And only true love can free the Beast from his prison.
*I received a complimentary ecopy for an honest review*
My Thoughts: I was completely thrilled and excited to read this collection. Last year, I read Five Glass Slippers and I loved it! Learning that Five Enchanted Roses was based on my favorite fairy tale, "Beauty and the Beast," I couldn't wait to devour it.
"Esprit de La Rose" by Kaycee Browning
This was a very interesting take on "Beauty and the Beast". It was about pirates. Yes, pirates. Can you imagine this loved tale on the ocean? Neither could I at first, but I found myself having fun with it. It reminded me a lot of The Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The inhabitants of the Rose were cursed and the only way to get out of their unfortunate fate was to accomplish their omens. These cursed men have slowly turned into a mash-up of ugly sea creatures (imagine the cursed sailors on Davy Jone's ship from the movie). There wasn't any romance in this story. It was more of a fantasy adventure that made one think about what was considered morally good. This was an entertaining read.
"Wither" by Savannah Jezowski
I really liked this one. It was spooky and gripping. I enjoyed the author's spin on the classic story. Ghouls and other supernatural beings were part of this world. Bet sacrificed herself to take her younger sister's place to go to the beast. The beast soon revealed himself not to be the fearsome creature that the villagers thought. It was interesting to read the twist that Beauty was the middle sister instead of the younger one. I also liked the enchantment over the castle and how Corwin became a beast. The only thing I did not like was Corwin's selfishness in not letting Bet go, but I still was able to feel a little sorry for him. This was a very well told story. I would be looking forward to reading the continuation of Bet's younger sister.
"Stone Curse" by Jenelle Schmidt
This was my least favorite of the collection, but I was still able to enjoy it. The heroine was not whom I expected to be. She was the lady-in-waiting who was brave enough to travel outside of the cursed castle to find a way to break the curse. What I enjoyed the most about this story was the sweet and realistic love that was between the heroine and the beast. However, I was not as hooked to this story. I found myself losing focus a few times, thus it was not my favorite.
"Rosara and the Jungle King" by Dorian Tsukioka
This was a very unique story that was less "Beauty and the Beast" compared to the other tales in this anthology. However, it was one of my favorite stories. This was set in the jungle where Rosara belonged to a very primitive tribe. Men could claim women right on the spot to be wives and women did not have a choice but to agree. I found myself gripped to the story even though there were violent scenes. I loved the instant connection that the beast and Rosara made. I also loved the twist as to what happened to Rosara once she ran away from home. The ending was the best for it was very touching. I look forward to reading other works by this author.
"The Wulver's Rose" by Hayden Wand
This one was another favorite of mine from the collection. It was the one closest to the original story, only set in Scotland. It was wonderful to see how the author was able to change aspects of the classic to follow the Scotish culture. What I absolutely loved best about this story was how it explained the importance of the rose. It made one understand more why the beast (or the wulver in this case) was very protective over his roses. We also got to see more of the Beast's point-of-view, which made one sympathize with him even more. It tore my heart on how he struggled to either keep Bonnie with him or to let her go. This one also had a lovely ending.
Overall, this was another great collection. I was not as emotionally invested with this one as I was with Five Glass Slippers, but I still loved it. It was wonderful to read the different interpretations of a beloved classic and it makes me eager to read more. I rate this: