Review #209

Title- A Ruin of Roses

Author- K. F. Breene

Series- first in four

Rating– 3.8/5

Genre- dark fantasy romance, erotica

POV- first person

Trope- enemies to lovers

Cover– pretty

Comps– Hate by Tate James (steamy RH contemporary), A Curse so Dark and Lonely (YA- not steamy)


The beast.
The creature that stalks the forbidden wood.
The dragon prince.

He has suffered a fate worse than death. We all have. A curse put upon us by the mad king.

We are a kingdom locked in time. Shifters unable to feel our animals. Stuck here by a deal between the late king and a demon who seeks our destruction.

The only one keeping this kingdom alive is Nyfain, the golden prince to a stolen throne. The last dragon shifter.

He’s our hope.
He’s my nightmare.

When he catches me trespassing in the forbidden wood, he doesn’t punish me with death, as he’s entitled.

He takes me, instead. Forces me back to the castle as his prisoner. Seeks to use me.

Apparently, I can save him. I can save the whole forgotten kingdom, locked away by the demon king’s power.

But it would mean taming the monster beneath his skin. It would mean giving myself to him.

It would mean my ruin.

First chapter-

Prologue- the prose of the feel a little below average but the way the sentence structure was short  at least kept the pace quick. It felt like my kind of writing, a little inexperienced. I’m hoping for a few less exclamation points as we continue but I’m excited at where the story will take me. I love fairytale retellings and Beauty and the Beast is my favorite like A Curse So Dark and Lonely.

Chapter 1- a bit more backstory than what I want in the very beginning and my attention was rugged many different directions but I could handle it. She’s looking for a cure for the curse making villagers sick.

Character Development- eh… not sure. The Beast has some, Finley not so much

Best part- steamy sex scenes. Hot. Hot.

What I would change- I’m fine with swear words, but there were so many, it felt unnecessary and distracting and kind of decreased the “professionalism” of the writing.

Quote- There was a moment on the third to last page where the Beast said something nice about her that could be quote-worthy, but it was so late into the story at that point, I didn’t care enough about them to write it down.

Setting- The Forbidden Forest, her village, his castle and locked in her tower

Prose- felt very modern and “Indie”

Character goals/motivations- she wanted to make more of the elixir with plants to save her village, but see below for my comments.

Theme- hhhmm… mentally torture vs physically/ailment sickness- which is worse? Fighting yourself with what you want verse what you think you should do.

Vivid sensory descriptions- in sex scenes, yes

Dialogue- others may LOVE her snarky voice. She was a bit too much for me, over the top.

Inclusivity- There were MM and FF representation in the orgies in the background. I don’t know what characters were ethnically diverse.

Ethics/morals- depends onwhatever you opinion is of sex parties. But overall my biggest concern in the book was the following:
Page 192- it’s hard to read a story when there’s lines like- “Panic blared, and suddenly I was in survival mode, wanting to get away …” How am I supposed to root for them or see anything as consensual?

Conflict/tension/obstacles- more internal than anything.

Pacing- fast

Thoughts while reading-

Chapter 2- Her voice is annoying. I get the sense the author is trying to make her sound modern and strong and brave but some of the slang is just annoying. There’s too much. Positive note- it’s more unique & gives her a distinct personality

Page 48- okay so when the curse started it didn’t just make the villagers sick. Apparently, they’re all shifters (different animals) & their magic to shift was taken away once the curse started.

Chapter 3- the chapters are pretty long so they’re not just one main scene or event to focus on but a bunch strung together.

Page 126- the humor is interesting. Not sure how to describe the type of sarcasm

Page 162- the demons don’t seem to mean anything when they’re used as a threat since we haven’t seen them in action

Chapter 7- I don’t really enjoy the term “shame-fucking.” It’s one thing when a book is steamy but it’s something else entirely when it’s just unnecessary orgies that don’t matter … idk I’m struggling. I think there’s two different types of “dark” fiction. And I’m enjoying one type more than the other. 

Page 176- the author is teasing readers with not showing us the massive library yet? Harsh. So far I’m most interested in learning what kind of animal hasn’t been unleashed within her.

Page 195- pride that she said no and fought him off? I feel yucky about this. I like haters to lovers, but this feels like a different level.

Page 220- the time in the garden when they’re making slicers is important for relationship development but I’m also pretty bored. What’s her goal? Make the potion? What are the obstacles for creating it? Any other objective? Does she want to try to escape? She’s just dealing with being there …

Page 245- yeah she’s right to question his mind games of withdrawing and arousal. It’s a bit toxic.

Page 250- when she’s talking to herself as her animal self it sounds unnatural Ns a bit like schizophrenia

Ending- Page 377- well I still don’t know what her animal is. So overall, I feel like some of the action beats weren’t plotted out in the right spots. Overall I feel a bit disappointed, that this had the potential to have me fall for him and root for them, but it didn’t quite get me there.

Published by CassieSwindon

Fiction author

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