I really liked this book. It was very sweet and moving.
The Rose Bride is a bit of the Cinderella fairy tale, and The Beauty and the Beast fairy tale with magic, sorcery and shape shifting mixed together. The main character is Rose who is the "Cinderella" and the one who is changed into an animal whose spell is broken by love (Beauty and the Beast). Rose has a very evil stepmother Ombrine and stepsister Desiree. There is also King Jean-Marc who lost his first wife and son and who needs to learn to love again. Jean-Marc is basically the beast in "Beauty and the Beast" except he is human and not mean. The story has a lot of action in it as well with an actual battle happening, royal hunts going on and magic. Its really cool how the story moves and changes from one fairy tale to the other. It flows seamlessly and is well written.
Rose is the main character and her life is literally a mess. So many bad things happen to this girl that its a wonder she isn't a total wreck or that she hasn't offed herself. She loses everything and when I say everything, I mean Everything: people, belongings, house, her human form. I feel so bad for her. Her losses start at the age of 13 and just continue to pile up. While she does despair when these tragedies occur she is very strong, resilient and endures. She is put through trials by her patron goddess and is able to learn what she is supposed to learn. After everything that happens this girl still manages to learn to love. She is awesome.
Her step-mother is a cruel b****. I mean she is very evil. She is so mean, nasty and conniving. She was a lady of a wealthy husband who died and since falling into peasantry she is obsessed with wealth and riches and does anything to get it. The very first time we meet her she is telling Rose that she is the reason for her father's death. What kind of person tells a kid they never met something like this. She is very greedy and takes possession of all of Rose's family's things all the while complaining about the items. She is also a sorceress who casts a spell over the King to make him fall for Desiree.
Desiree is a little airhead idiot who follows in her mother's footsteps. She is very mean to Rose for no reason. She has no sympathy for Rose even though she was in Rose's shoes not long ago. She is very insulting Rose's parents which made me want to punch her in the face. All she cared about was riches too. I'd say she was more of a glutton than greedy. She is also involved with sorcery although I don't think she had any of the power and her mother does. I get the feeling that Desiree was just another pawn in her mother's plan. But that didn't give her any reason to be so evil like her mother. Both Desiree and Ombrine had a very fitting end.
King Jean-Marc is generally a nice guy. He just let his grief over his first wife and son consume him. When he married again, he did so not out of love but out of want and need for his first wife. He felt his loss deeply which was an opening for Desiree and Ombrine to exploit. He does eventually learn to love instead of need.
I liked the whole theme of the story which was that love can heal everything and its important to know that you are loved. I really liked the roses, the rose garden and the special purple roses and what their meaning is in the story. I just think that hearing the purple roses say "You are loved" over and over for the rest of my life would drive me a bit crazy.
The only thing I can say that was ehh and confused me was the fact that the people in this story are french or at least speak french but worship Greek gods and goddesses. Zeus was Jean-Marc's patron god. Artemis was Rose's. I enjoyed the mythology and how the gods/goddesses interacted with the characters and I'm glad Artemis was featured heavily in the book because she is my favorite Greek goddess. That being said it was very strange to have french speaking Greek gods worshippers. It didn't mesh well with me.
That aside, I really enjoyed the book and liked it a lot.
This review is also posted on Spantalian's Book Reviews