Saturday, July 26, 2014

Review - The Rose Master by Valentina Cano

Title:  The Rose Master
Author: Valentina Cano
Release Date: June, 2014
Pages: 217
Goodreads Rating: 4.56/5 Stars
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
My Content Rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing, Some horror elements)

Summary from Goodreads: The day Anne Tinning turns seventeen, birds fall from the sky. But that's hardly the most upsetting news. She's being dismissed from the home she's served at since she was a child, and shipped off to become the newly hired parlor maid for a place she's never heard of. And when she sees the run-down, isolated house, she instantly knows why:

There's something wrong with Rosewood Manor.

Staffed with only three other servants, all gripped by icy silence and inexplicable bruises, and inhabited by a young master who is as cold as the place itself, the house is shrouded in neglect and thick with fear. Her questions are met with hushed whispers, and she soon finds herself alone in the empty halls, left to tidy and clean rooms no one visits.

As the feeling of being watched grows, she begins to realize there is something else in the house with them--some creature that stalks the frozen halls and claws at her door. A creature that seems intent on harming her.

When a fire leaves Anne trapped in the manor with its Master, she finally demands to know why. But as she forces the truth about what haunts the grounds from Lord Grey, she learns secrets she isn't prepared for. The creature is very real, and she's the only one who can help him stop it. 

Now, Anne must either risk her life for the young man she's grown to admire, or abandon her post while she still can.

The Rose Master was kind of an interesting mix of Downton Abbey meets Supernatural. Anne is a servant at a large manor - the manor is the only home she's ever known, since her mother was a servant there before she died when Anne was only seven. But when the lady of the house informs Anne that she's being sent off to live in a strange new place with a new master, she has no say in the matter. She is forced to leave everything she knows. She soon finds that her new home is more than a little strange. Not only do very few servants work there, allowing the manor to fall into disrepair, but she discovers that something else is in the manor - something that means her and the others living there harm. When she grows closer to Lord Grey, she learns that the thing in the manor is very real - and very dangerous.

What I loved:
  • The creepiness.  There were lots of scary elements to this story - things that go bump in the night, birds that fall out of the sky, things scratching at the door, unseen violence that happens in the night - I could go on and on. I don't get terribly scared when reading books for some reason, so I wasn't as freaked out as I could have been, but when I think about this book as a horror movie, it makes me shudder!
  • Anne and Lord Grey.  I loved the slow-burning relationship that developed between Anne and Lord Grey. At first, Lord Grey is just a sort of creepy presence on the estate (to go along with other even creepier things), but Anne eventually starts to get to know him and we see an interesting, tentative relationship form between these two. There are plenty of barriers between them, though. The romance element of the book was actually relatively minor compared to the supernatural storyline, but I really enjoyed it.
  • The paranormal storyline. Once we find out what is really going on in the manor, things really start to heat up! I loved the paranormal aspect of the book!
The negatives:
  • Slightly slow in middle.  While I did really enjoy this book, there was a portion in the middle - after Anne had started discovering the creepy stuff about the manor and before she started really interacting with Lord Grey - that felt a little bit slow to me. I liked the scary elements, but horror isn't my favorite genre (I like it, but don't love it), so I was a little anxious to get to the meat of the story. That's just me, though.
    Overall, I thought that The Rose Master was a great mix of YA historical, paranormal and horror. The ending gave us closure, but certainly left room for future installments of a series (Goodreads doesn't show this as being part of the series, but I assume that there will be more books).  I give this book 4/5 stars.

    ***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***

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    About the Author
    Valentina Cano is a student of classical singing who spends whatever free time she has either reading or writing. She also watches over a veritable army of pets, including her five, very spoiled, snakes. Her works have appeared in numerous publications and her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Web. She lives in Miami, Florida.

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