Saturday, June 10, 2017

Popcorn Reviews // Five Enchanted Roses

I've had this book around the top of my TBR for a while and finally decided to read it. Unfortunately, it took me longer than I had hoped since, well, it was a bit of  letdown.

Five Enchanted Roses is a collection of Beauty and the Beast short story retellings.

I went into this book pretty excited. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairytales, but what I wasn't expecting was the meh writing. Not all the authors wrote the same. But most of them wrote in that style that always makes me suspect the writer believes he or she must write in this manner to be considered a writer. It's that style that's akin to stuffy, old literature that moves slowly and contemplatively, tells after it shows, or just tells and forgets about showing.

Don't get me wrong. I like some classics, but when I pick one up, I expect the style to be a bit long-winded. Occasionally, I find a modern author who does know how to pull off the classical style properly, but not often. [In fact, I beta-read for a friend whose style is YA and classical mixed, and it's done well]. The writing is good, just not my taste.

Also, and this was on me, each story was doused with romance tropes [so annoying]. But since this was a fairytale retelling, I should've expected to see a lot of modern romance tropes. I don't know why I didn't realize this.

So if you like romance/romance tropes, you'll probably love this book.

Although some of the stories renamed the "Beast" or "Belle/Beauty," for the sake of avoiding confusion, I'll call them after whom they represent.

Esprit De La Rose

The first story placed our beloved B&B on a pirate ship? And in an alternate universe of where the Fee punish and banish sailors. The character development didn't seem very realistic for the Beast. But I think that's because his change of heart was a little rushed. The characters were ok. The ships and pirates idea was interesting, but for me that was its redeeming factor.


This story was by far my favorite of all five! Again, the style was not exactly my taste, but the story was good. And I enjoyed the characters. I loved the idea of it, and I definitely want to know more about the world of the story. The Spooks seemed to be people who would protect the townspeople from the evil spirits that lurked in the forest. Also the Beast was different and why he was a beast. The CASTLE was alive! And all the Lonely were like the invisible spirits, I guess, that served in the castle. Even the ending was different and interesting. The world-building made this story stick out.

Stone Curse

This story was also interesting. It varied more in plot, and Belle's origin was different than the traditional Belle/Beauty. The Beast was written well too. It did get rather sappy though, mostly at the end. This could be in part because the ending was rushed. I wish the author would've taken more time with the romance twist at the end because it would've been more believable. I kinda left this one with some dissatisfaction because the ending was wrapped up just so. But that's ok, right? It's a fairytale.

Rosara and the Jungle King

This was probably my least favorite even though it was the most different. The plot was loosely based on B&B. I did like how it took place in the jungle, how the curse came about, and that the Beast was actually a jaguar. Buuuut the whole plot seemed to hang on the second plot event which just so happened to be an attempted rape which the Beast saves Belle from [enter romance trope].

The romance made me wince, but considering that it is romance genre, it's probably done well then? [Don't look at me; I haven't the faintest.] Despite the different setting, the plot and events were a little predictable.

The Wulver's Rose

The Scottish setting was enjoyable as well as the obvious Scottish accent in the dialogue. There were a few other tiny differences. This particular retelling made me realized that in B&B story, the Beast is technically very old, like hundreds of years older than Belle. Sure, he is kept from physically aging and in most stories part of the curse keeps him from mental intelligence. But still, he's had the experience of hundreds of years. And, honestly, that's a little disturbing. I know there's going to be a huge age gap, but a hundred years is a bit much, don't you think?

So yeah, this book was not exactly my cup of tea [except Wither, Wither was great!]. But maybe you might like it? And if you're a Beauty and the Beast fan [as I am], it's at least worth a try!

What's your favorite fairytale retelling, B&B or otherwise? What's your least favorite and why? I'd love some recs!


  1. In general, this sounds like a pretty decent book. Sucks about the authors and their writing though, that would irritate the heck outta me. I'm a massive Beauty and the Beast fan, so I think I'd definitely give it a go, even if I didn't end up liking it.

    Little Moon Elephant

  2. This sounds really interesting, it's too bad that it was a letdown for you!
    Some of my favorite Beauty and the Beast retellings are Hunted and Cruel Beauty!

  3. I share a lot of your feelings on this one, The pirate one was my favorite though.
    That Rumpelstiltskin gif is perfect.

  4. Hmmm. I'd been thinking of trying this one out, but I might not now. My favorite retelling is by FAR Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett, a comedic retelling of Cinderella from the POV of her antihero fairy godmother. My least favorite is probably Hunted by Meagan Spooner, a B&B retelling that was more than a little of a letdown. :/

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

  5. This book seemed like quite a good idea but it's a shame about the writing. From the synopses I have read, it sounds a little like fan fiction.

    - Fifi

  6. Man, I love retellings. I think books that nail retelling are the ones that manage to be as original as they can with an already-existing story. I'm very curious about Esprit De La Rose now - pirate ships? Beauty and the Beast?? Exciting. :)

  7. Hmm. I can tooootally imagine the style you're describing. I think there is a whole world of lesser-known fantasy that's written in that traditional trying-to-be-a-classic style. It's the way I imagine Elisabeth Ann Stengl writes (not that I'm trying to disparage her, I am really keen to try Goldstone Wood, and I'm sure SHE pulls it off well). It's the way a lot of bloggers seem to write; they write historical fiction or historical fantasy and I read this snippets with the looooong sentences and the archaic language and blah blah blah I can't be bothered! I think it's stupid to try and write like you're in the 19th century. Because you're not. I'm sorry, but you're not in the 19th century! I totally understand the POV that classics are generally better than modern books (that is my POV, after all), and of course I come away from Dickens/Austen/Eliot thinking hot damn I wish I could write like that ... but that doesn't mean I think I should emulate the style. Basically, I think people compromise the way they actually talk/write/think to try and sound "literary", and it just doesn't work.

    Of course, Donna Tartt is hailed as "neo-classical", with her long sentences in long books. But the key there is the NEO bit. Neo. New. NEW classical. Using language beautifully, as the classic authors did, but with your own NEW 21st c. voice.

    Don't think I would pick this one up! But I enjoyed this post!


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