Monday, 4 March 2019

Blog tour: The Everlasting Rose - Dhonielle Clayton

Welcome to today's stop on the blog tour for 'The Everlasting Rose' by Dhonielle Clayton. This is the second book in The Belles duology.

Goodreads synopsis:
Camellia, her sister Edel, and her guard and new love Remy must race against time to find Princess Charlotte. Sophia's Imperial forces will stop at nothing to keep the rebels from returning Charlotte to the castle and her rightful place as queen. With the help of an underground resistance movement called The Iron Ladies-a society that rejects beauty treatments entirely-and the backing of alternative newspaper The Spider's Web, Camellia uses her powers, her connections and her cunning to outwit her greatest nemesis, Sophia, and restore peace to Orleans.

'The Everlasting Rose' is the second book about The Belles and picks up where the previous story finished. The main character Camellia and her sister Edel are on the run, along with Remy, one of the palace guards. They are desperate to find the ailing Princess Charlotte and restore her to her place on the throne. Along the way they're helped by the mysterious Iron Ladies who have rejected the beauty treatments that the rest of society are so dependent and reliant on.

I felt like Camellia became a much more rounded character in this book. She is far more confident in herself and determined and she goes into the action with her eyes wide open. She has a mission to wrest control of Orleans away from Sophia and she will literally stop at nothing to prevent her evil reign. I wish that we'd found out more about the Iron Ladies because they were an interesting addition to the story but maybe Dhonielle Clayton is planning to do a spin-off on them in the future.

My feelings about this book are very similar to those I had for 'The Belles'. It was a good read and I did enjoy it but I didn't love it. I thought that the first half of the story was meandering and rather slow and then the ending was exciting but felt quite rushed. Everything seemed to happen all at once although it was a fitting end to the story and nicely tied up all the plot threads.

If you're a fan of the first book then I'm sure you will enjoy 'The Everlasting Rose'. I tend to feel that it bordered too much on the fantasy genre for my tastes but I will definitely be checking out future titles by Dhonielle Clayton.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Blog tour: The Beauty of the Wolf - Wray Delaney

Today I'm hosting a stop on the blog tour for 'The Beauty of the Wolf' by Wray Delaney. Read on to find out what I thought about this fairy tale retelling.

Goodreads synopsis:
In the age of the Faerie Queene, Elizabeth I, Lord Francis Rodermere starts to lay waste to a forest. Furious, the sorceress who dwells there scrawls a curse into the bark of the first oak he fells: A faerie boy will be born to you whose beauty will be your death.

Ten years later, Lord Rodermere’s son, Beau is born – and all who encounter him are struck by his great beauty.

Meanwhile, many miles away in a London alchemist’s cellar lives Randa – a beast deemed too monstrous to see the light of day.

And so begins a timeless tale of love, tragedy and revenge…

'The Beauty of the Wolf' is written by Wren Delaney, the pen name of author Sally Gardner. I've read a lot of Gardner's children's books but this is the first of her adult novels that I've picked up. I love her style of writing and wonderful use of language, so I've really been looking forward to this title. There were two things that particularly attracted me to it. The first was the description of it as a feminist retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I can't stress how much I love a new spin on a traditional fairytale. This one sounded especially intriguing because of the swapping of gender roles between the two main characters. The second thing was the absolutely beautiful hardback edition. I am always sucked in by a pretty cover and this one is absolutely gorgeous.   

This is an adult retelling, so it's quite dark and far removed from any visions that you might have of the Disney version. Don't go into it expecting there to be love and flowers and talking tea cups. This is more like a dark, gothic story with some serious adult themes and some strong sexual content.

I really liked the historical setting of Elizabethan England and the world building was excellent. Delaney made it come alive before my eyes and I felt immersed in all of the details of the period. I did find the pace very slow at the beginning of the story which I know is something that other reviewers have commented on. I like to be drawn into a book right from the start, or I can sometimes have a tendency to give up on titles that I'm not enjoying. Therefore, for me, I felt like more needed to happen in the first few chapters.  

The story is told from the point of view of three different characters: The Sorceress, The Beast and Beauty. The problem with this is that it felt like the narrative flitted around a lot between the characters and they came across as pretty flat. Randa was probably my favourite but I didn't feel hugely engaged by any one individual.

There does seem to be a trend at the moment for historical fiction with a side of bawdy (I'm thinking of books like 'The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock' which this reminded me of). This isn't really my kind of thing which probably explains why I struggled with this novel. I'm disappointed that I didn't end up enjoying it more but it's one that I might come back to and read again at some point in the future because I'd like to give it another chance.  

Check out all of the other stops on 'The Beauty of the Wolf' blog tour.

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