Monday, March 3, 2008

Goddess Of The Rose by P. C. Cast

It’s not a green thumb that’s kept the Empousai family’s roses blooming for centuries – it’s the drops of blood that their women secretly sacrifice for their gardens. But Mikki, the youngest, would rather forget this family quirk and lead a normal life. Until the day she unwittingly performs a sacred ritual and ends up in the strange – but strangely familiar – Realm of the Rose. As its goddess Hecate reveals to her, Mikki has the blood of a high priestess running through her veins. And the Realm has been waiting for her…

In a flash of temper long ago, Hecate cursed her guardian beast, along with the rest of the Realm, with a permanent slumber that only a high priestess can undo. Now nothing’s coming up roses – and Hecate is counting on Mikki to set things aright. Awoken, the beast at first terrifies Mikki – but soon compels her more than any ordinary man ever has. But the only way he, and the Realm, can be saved is for Mikki to sacrifice her life-giving blood – and herself…

My reading buddy, Kat, recommended this book when she learnt that I’m a sucker for fairytale romances. You did good, girl.

This story combines the elements of the Greek mythology and Beauty And The Beast, so I read with great anticipation. I felt that the author successfully integrated the two elements seamlessly.

The story begins in the present time, with Mikki dreaming of a series of strange and sometimes erotic dreams. Mikki knows that her blood holds an ancient gift that nourishes the roses, but she is unaware of the gift’s origin or history. When she is transported to the Realm of the Rose, she learns of her own history and embraces her destiny. For Mikki feels she is finally where she belongs.

The guardian the Realm, Asterius, has the heart and soul of a man underneath his beastly appearance. For centuries, he performed his duties unerringly, all the while battling a lonely existence and the yearning for love and acceptance. So it wasn’t surprising that he fell for the first woman who showed him the slightest attention – who also betrayed him and caused his banishment from the Realm. For years he waited, encased in stone. Until Mikki sets him free.

Mikki comes across as a no-nonsense and compassionate woman, who quickly adjusts to being a high priestess of the whimsical Realm. She brings a lot of modern (and mortal) ways into the Realm, not the least, her language. Now, I got it that she’s a modern woman, and her chick-lit-ish language serves to highlight that fact, as well as bringing a breath of modernity to the old school Grecian Realm, but I found the language jarring. This is the only aspect that I didn’t like about Mikki.

Asterius, on the other hand, is the quintessential fairytale beast, both in looks and personality. His loneliness, his torment, his vulnerability … his very being, from the way he talks to the way he carries himself, tore at my heart. His personal history is an interesting, albeit heartbreaking, one. The author did justice to this character.

Mikki and Asterius together are good and convincing. The progression of their relationship is gradual and believable. It is Mikki who does most of the pursuing, and when Asterius gives in to his longing for her, their scenes are steamy.

I was a little disappointed with the prose of the story. I admit it’s all down to my expectation. I expected a dreamy, perhaps even a lyrical prose that befits the beauty-and-the-beast theme. What threw me for a loop were the first two chapters – they read as if they came straight out of a chick-lit novel – I’m not fond of the chick-lit.

The writing is proficient and readable … just not very evocative or romantic. Certain parts of the story are tedious, and in my opinion, should have been shorter, such as the rituals performed by Mikki at Hecate’s temple BUT particularly Mikki’s tour of the dream-weaving rooms.

I do recommend this book to all fans of Beauty And The Beast.

My rating4
Sensuality ratingWarm


Shyan said...

Sounds interesting! I think I shall try it. Have never read any of Cast's books before.

katrin said...

I'm glad you liked it. yes,
the prose bothered me too. It wasn't romantic and didn't fit the story in my opinion. It's a strange chick-lit meets fairy-tale combination.
Mikado was a bit too chatty for my taste too,
but overall I loved it. especially the end. there are too many books, where the hero has to change from the inside out to be fit for a happy end. I just adored that he could stay as he was. this solution makes it a winner for me!
I'd rate it the same way as you. although it would deserve an extra point for the gorgeous cover.

Jace said...

Shyan, yes, the premise of the story is interesting. It's worth reading. :)

Jace said...

Katrin, I'm glad to have read it. Oh, the ending just about killed me. LOL Yes, Asterius gets to stay just as he is, and she gets to stay with him forever. *grin*

Yes, the cover is lovely! I love the glittery section! I think this is the first romance cover that I've seen that has glittery stuff on it. Makes it magical. *grin*

Brie said...

This book sounds promising. Although, the lack of whimsical prose in a "fairytale" type of romance might throw me.

I'll check out the authors site and see what I think.

Jace said...

Brie, the story's really nice and interesting, if one could overlook Mikki's chick-lit-ish language. The portrayal of the Beast is really good and heartbreaking, IMO.

Yes, the prose is somewhat a let-down ... I wish it was more romantic or dreamy. Perhaps knowing this beforehand will enable you to enjoy the story more, if you are going to read it some time.