Author: Kaitlyn Davis
Genre: Romance, Retellings, Fantasy, YA
Goodreads Synopsis: What if Beauty was cursed, and the Beast was the only one who could save her? Don’t miss WITHERING ROSE, a dystopian romance from bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis that reimagines the classic fairy tale of Beauty & The Beast.
“As the heat finally disappeared, I felt the bloom blossom in the very core of my soul, a rose just like my name–a ticking clock hidden behind a façade of beauty. From that moment on, my life would become a countdown, and all I could do was wait and watch as the petals of time slowly started to fall.”
Omorose Bouchene has a secret–magic. There’s only one problem. At the age of seven, an earthquake struck, catapulting her into a new world. A land made of skyscrapers and cell phones. Fast cars and fluorescent lights. A land where magic isn’t supposed to exist and anyone who wields it is the enemy.
But after ten years of hiding, she’s desperate to find a place where she can be free. Because all magic comes with a curse, and her curse is time–every ounce of power she uses strips days off of her life. The clock is winding down, and the only option left is to escape to the realm of the Beast. But the king of monsters isn’t what he seems. And the more Omorose opens her heart, the more she comes to realize that the only person she may need to fear is herself.
*This is the second book in Once Upon A Curse, a series of interconnected stand-alone novels all set in the same fantasy universe.
I don’t know how to quite describe Withering Rose. Let me first start off by saying that it’s the second book in the series, but you don’t have to read the first book since the stories are standalone, but interconnected.
Alright, so when I saw that Withering Rose was available on Netgalley, I wanted to read it so, so badly. The synopsis is what won me over. I’ve read a couple of Beauty and The Beast retellings and I was in the mood to read another one. I was hoping that Withering Rose was going to be the “one”. Oh, I was wrong.
I hated it. I’ve been going through a reading slump, and this book did not help whatsoever. I can’t believe I actually managed to finish reading it, because it felt like I was reading this book for months. So, the story begins with a huge earthquake as Omorose and her father are traveling to another kingdom. They find themselves transported to another world because of the earthquake, in a world without magic. Omorose is forced to keep her powers hidden because the people of her new world exterminate magical beings. Modern earth hates anything magical. In a way, present day earth can be viewed as a dystopian society in the eyes of Omorose and her father.
Her father has to work for the government in order for his and Omorose’s survival. As years go by, Omorose feels caged because she cannot use her powers. Her father forbids her from using her magic because he wants to protect her. He doesn’t want his daughter to be slaughter, but Omorose feels that by hiding her magic, she is hiding herself. Her classmates see her as the weird girl, and she hates living a second life of pretending to be someone she is not. She decides it is best to leave her father and pursue the beast. (It’s not like her father has been protecting her for years from their enemies.) The beast is a magical being that lives deep in the forest. The government has been trying to capture the beast and end magic, but his whereabouts are unknown.
The world building sucked. Completely sucked. There is no explanation on how two worlds ended up merging. It happens in the span of one chapter, the very first chapter may I add. There is no world building for Omorose’s home world. As the reader, you are left wondering what kind of world did she come from. I thought of a medieval setting, but that’s just me. I feel that if her world was based on the past, let’s say the 5th century, and somehow it merged to modern day earth, it would have been a better explanation. Anyways, the kingdoms of Omorose’s home world get transported onto modern day earth, and merge with cities. The government has been fighting off the magical users. There is no reason why there is discrimination. As you reader, you are left to assume that the present day earth is very advanced when it comes to the technology.
As for the characters, I didn’t love them. I had no attachments to the protagonist, love interest, nor secondary characters. Omorose was conflicting for me because she describes herself as strong, but honestly, she was weak for me. Her magical ability is cool. She is able to grow flowers, and every time she uses her magic, it takes a toll on her body. You would think that Omorose would be thankful for being able to survive on earth. Honestly, he father was protecting her life by forbidding her magic, but no. Unnecessary angst. Now moving on to the beast, he’s a shape-shifter and is a prince. He is angry and brooding, and isn’t loveable. Omorose and her relationship with the Beast happened instantly. At first, Omorose is completely terrified of the Beast, and he does nothing to prove her otherwise. And then, they instantly fall in love. I wasn’t a huge fan of their romance.
After finishing Withering Rose, I won’t pick up the other books in the series. I liked the concept, but the execution wasn’t the best. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend this book. A frustrating Beauty and the Beast retelling is not what I needed. I can recommend picking up A Court of Thorns And Roses by Sarah J. Maas or Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen.
Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️