A Ruin of Roses by K.F. Breene ( Deliciously Dark Fairytales 1)

A doomed kingdom, a broody hero with ‘daddy’ issues & abundant ‘mommy’ love. A heroine who is irreverent, brave to the point of stupidity, loyal, intuitive & a heart of gold . Then we have the villain or villains, a mad king who initiated the ‘doom’ sequence 3..2…1  & the demon with whom the king bartered away his kingdom.

The basic premise reminded me of ‘Sin’ series with Kieran having similar issues as well. But I came to know that this is a ‘remix’ version of the classic ‘Beauty & the Beast’.

The first part in the series deals with the set up as such sometimes the structuring is agonizingly elaborate. A ruin of roses is set up in a realm that has been populated by shifters. Unfortunately for them, they have been bound in a curse that has cut the human self from their animal self preventing them from shifting. This leads to a mysterious illness that ends in a long suffering, slow death.

Our girl, Finley the heroine of this story is determined to delay the onset of death to her family at any cost. At tender age of 14, she bravely treads into the forbidden forest & brings back “magical” leaves that manage to delay the progress of the disease. It however does not cure people.

As years roll by, she makes many more forays into the forbidden forest, several times having a close shave with the BEAST that is lurking in there. In time, Finley manages to raise a garden of her own ‘Magical plant’ & also shares it with her village members.

But as does happen, Finley’s father’s condition takes a turn for worse & Finley has no more leaves for medication. She decides to venture into the forest to procure the leaves. Things happen in swift sequence wherein Finley ends up ending in forest.

To her utter shock, she comes to know that the BEAST is actually a shifter who still can shift beating the curse. From then on, it is a steep learning curve for Finley as she begins to get vague glimmerings of truth or her mission.

First the pros, Wit !! sparkling, irreverent wit most times snarky & rare times brilliant, this is vintage K.F. Breene. The lines of Finley & Hadriel & their interactions are rife with humor which is guaranteed to elicit laugh out loud moments.

Nyfain, the broody hero with mood swings to rival a PMS’ing woman has been sketched carefully. He has a range of emotions & depths to his character which gives him gravitas. Despite Nyfain painted as larger than life hero, the way he is rendered gives him an aura of vulnerability, a hint of melancholy. While his actions portray him as larger than life hero, his emotions keep him human & relatable to readers.

Finley, both of them are spice in an otherwise bland soup. Ever the optimistic she is forever looking for solutions than beating herself with problems that continuously erupt in her life. At the same time, she is no damsel in distress, she is pretty strong willed without being obnoxious. She rivals Nyfain in fortitude & resilience-proof that they are the destined soul mates.

The book is “too long” , it goes into needless detailing when concise narration would have sufficed. A Ruin of Roses takes quite a while to get to the plot, in fact it is towards the end we begin to get a hint of the plot. The approach to the plotline is hindered by author’s detour into the adulterous exploits of cursed shifters.

While mature content in a paranormal has become the norm, A ruin of Roses falters in that, it (mature) does not seem to blend with the plot. The explicit scenes seem like an add on that has no business in being there. Most often, they act as a break or disruptor to the storyline rather than enhancing it.

Second is the issue with the tone, one page you have a lucid, clear writing sometimes deep, most often humorous. Then the tone shifts abruptly especially when it enters the area of ‘smut’, often sounding juvenile & crude to the point of cringe.

This Chicklit is for hardcore K.F. Breene fans. A book that does not make you invest your time & heart into it.

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