Foreword Reviews

Wolves and Roses

Fairy Tales of the Magicorum, Book 1

Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

Wolves and Roses maintains all the best elements of beloved children’s tales while introducing a dynamic and charismatic Sleeping Beauty for a new generation.

It will take more than a handsome prince and the promise of a happy ever-after to make dreams come true for Bryar Rose, and now that magic itself seems to be disappearing at an alarming rate, this damsel may have to rescue herself. Christina Bauer’s Wolves and Roses, Book One from the Fairy Tales of the Magicorum series, mixes cherished fantasy classics with modern magic and moxie.

Raised to believe she would follow in the footsteps of every “Sleeping Beauty” story ever told, seventeen-year-old Bryar Rose is decidedly unenthusiastic about her future. She is content to sneak about with her BFF, Elle (never call her Cinderella), while pursuing her passion for decoding hieroglyphs found on ancient Egyptian papyri until she crosses paths with a mysterious boy whose secrets just might rival her own.

Overflowing with well-known folklore from Little Red Riding Hood to Cinderella, Snow White, and of course, Sleeping Beauty, there are many familiar elements and motifs present throughout for those who enjoy contemporary adaptations of fairy tales. Werewolves, fairies, and witches are joined by non-magical humans whose lives parallel those of their enchanted counterparts, but this is only one piece of a larger puzzle that contains enough plot twists, surprises, and original backstory to create an entirely fresh and exciting world. Throw in some fast-paced fight scenes, secret societies, and cannibal zombies for one thrilling adventure.

In the center of it all is Bryar Rose, a self-proclaimed “failed Sleeping Beauty template with an inhaler and three crazy aunties.” She is an impulsive, adolescent jumble of brash confidence and vulnerable confusion. Desperate to join the ranks of “regular” high school students everywhere but unwilling to conform to the wishes of her fairy guardians, she is a smart and capable fighter with a past full of secrets and scandals hidden even from herself. Cursed with a sleeping disorder she believes will disappear on her eighteenth birthday, Bryar Rose’s sarcastic humor and penchant for hipster slang—think “totes,” “amazeballs,” and “true that”—are balanced by alternating narrative points of view with Knox, her mysterious love interest, whose steady intensity and dedicated responsibility cause him to scowl more often than smile. Their distinct voices combine to reveal a curse, or maybe a blessing, dating back thousands of years.

Although the work is largely fantasy fiction, these princes and princesses are at home on the streets of the Big Apple. Bryar Rose’s life in present-day New York adds an edgy, urban, somewhat unbelievable element in the form of jewel heists, multimillion-dollar apartments inhabited by teenagers, fancy cars, and sophisticated underage cocktail parties, alongside the more mundane classwork and curfews. Younger audiences will appreciate the portrayal of independence and the over-the-top excitement.

Laying the foundation for future series installments, Bryar Rose and Knox introduce a world of myths and legendary curses, leaving several loose ends and hints of more to come from the Fairy Tales of the Magicorum.

Reviewed by Pallas Gates McCorquodale

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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