Some of my readers will remember my review of Shadows of the Hersweald by Hope Ann. Back before then I reviewed Song of the Sword, the second book of the same series. Now I have for you a review of Rose of the Oath, the first book of the series.
Yes, you read that right. This is chronologically the first book. It’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling and it’s delightful.
War clouds the horizon and rebels gather under a mysterious leader. Alone, with her two younger sisters, Elissa watches the mountain road desperately for her brother’s return. Instead, she receives news of his capture by a strange figure covered in scars and cloaked in wolf skins.
With rebels drawing nearer, she sets off to find her brother. To save him. There is no one else who can.
Yet she soon finds the rose that granted her warning now holds her captive in safety. Outside the valley, war threatens those she loves most. Though her strange host claims the ancient promises of the Prince’s return and victory over the rebels, Elissa knows the blood-drenched truth. She is on her own. Elissa will do anything to keep her family safe, but more than one kind of wolf stalks the Blackwood and danger lurks closer than she could ever imagine.
I always enjoy stories of sibling relationships and this is a great one. In fact I’ve noticed all of The Legends of Light so far have sibling relationships at their core. Elissa would never have ended up a captive of the ‘beast’ if it were not for her love for her brother and sisters. yet it is the same love that makes her captivity so bad.
Hope’s take on the Beast is one of my favourites. He’s not an animal, but a beast of a man; both in look and in brusqueness. He has deep secrets, and he never speaks of them. But then, he doesn’t talk at all. But he does write and can be quite humourous from time to time. It’s an interesting dynamic. The beast also cooks. There’s none of those enchanted servants common to B&B stories.
Elissa can be a bit feisty. She won’t put up with the Beast’s worse behaviour, won’t let him leave wounds untended, and his clothes all shabby. She frequently questions his need to have a prisoner and keeps the one friend who is able to visit her a complete secret.
Wolves are a big part of this story. They’ve been roaming about for generations and are greatly feared. The Beast pays quite a lot of attention to the wolves and there are various rumours about him and them. But even more significant than the wolves are the roses. Surprise! There’s roses everywhere. They’re quite important. So is an oath.
There’s also a villain. Tauscher, the leader of the rebels. And maybe someone else. I had suspcions, but they weren’t quite right. The book certainly didn’t end up where i expected it to.
The plot was good with stong themes and characters. The book is a novella, and the story felt just the right size. It wasn’t crowded, rushed or thin. It was good.
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Also, a bonus! For those of you who may not have seen it, Hope is also giving away the prequel to this Beauty and the Beast retelling, Rose of the Night – an account of how the ‘Beast’ became the Beast.
Click here to claim your free copy!
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Finally, in honor of the official release of Rose of the Oath, Hope’s other novellas are $0.99 for this