Wolves and Roses
Christina Bauer, Monster House Books (OCTOBER) Softcover $13.95 (292pp), 978-1-945723-07-0
Shape-shifters, fairy tales, wicked enchantments, and—oh yeah—asthma inhalers. Bryar Rose deals with supernatural and totally normal teenage stresses in Wolves And Roses: Fairy Tales of the Magicorum. Packed with urban fantasy tropes, the novel is fun, familiar fare.
Bryar Rose may as well have stepped out of a Monster High doll set. Conventionally pretty, she’s in remedial fairy-tale class. By now, her Stepfordperfect teacher reminds her, she should be getting ready for her wedding to Prince Philpot. Never mind that Bryar’s only seventeen, has never really been into kissing, and could care less about fulfilling her destiny as a Magicorum.
Also in detention: a goth witch in training, a runaway Cinderella, and a punk Red Riding Hood. The characters feel stereotypical, but as the plot picks up steam, Bryar gets a chance to show what she’s really made of.
Bryar’s interest in Ancient Egyptian magic, written on papyrus scrolls, draws her into a conspiracy that quickly takes her beyond the boring walls of West Lake Prep. A handsome werewolf named Knox is her guide as she works to unravel the mystery of who she really is. Wolves and Roses veers into rom-com territory more than once, and its quick, snarky dialogue reads like television one-liners. However, at its core, Wolves and Roses is a promising first volume in a pleasantly dark bubblegum series.
Christina Bauer, who’s found success with the best-selling Angelbound series, focuses on entertaining action, descriptive scenes, and easy-to-digest lessons about friendship, identity, and self-esteem. Wolves and Roses isn’t deep, but it’s frisky: a perfect, fluffy book for girls who like a little dark magic with their pink lemonade.