Title: The Rose Master
Author: Valentina Cano
Format/Length: eBook/200 pages
Publisher/Date Published: June 2014/REUTS Publications, LLC
Category/Genre: Young Adult/Historical Fiction-Paranormal
Source: Netgalley — thank you!!! :)
Description: 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.
Ever since I read Echoes of Balance, also published by REUTS Publications, I’ve had my eye on this publisher. They release fresh, new, and intriguing ideas into the YA paranormal market . . . and The Rose Master was no exception. Despite the fact that I’ve classified this as Historical Fiction, I wouldn’t let non-historical fiction fans to drive you away — no, the historical setting was merely a backdrop, a setting, for the greater story.
Also? Kudos to the cover artists and designers over at REUTS Publications. Seriously. I don’t think there’s one cover of theirs I don’t like.
I did have a few issues with the story itself, but overall, it was a solid read.
What I loved so much about the story is the way it was written. Valentina Cano’s writing style is brilliant — and I would easily read another novel of hers again. Descriptive, elegant writing, combined with the first person prose gave the story and old-fashioned, poetic ring to it. And I loved it. The writing and storyline held my interest from beginning to end, though the ending itself does leave room for a sequel. Because of this I felt the story to be slightly “unfinished” and as I’m not sure whether this is a standalone or a series, I’m not sure I can criticise that part of the novel.
In saying that though, I wish the ending had been fleshed out some more. More detail and explanation would been good. The ending whizzed past, and I felt it to be rushed and not completely finished.
This leads me to my next point. For me, the story took quite a while for things to properly get started. Anne is a maid, so naturally, a lot of her job includes cleaning. And, well, while the writing style was beautiful, there is only so much dusting I can read about before beginning to tire of it. So I felt those parts dragged, whereas the ending could have been lengthened and expanded upon some more.
The romance, in The Rose Master, does not play a central role, for which I was grateful. It developed slowly throughout the story, but I still wish I knew the characters better. Augustus and Anne, out two main characters, felt slightly . . . pale, to me. Especially Lord Grey. Though I do believe that both of their characters could have been shown more.
Despite all this, though, it was a very enjoyable read.
If you’re looking for a good YA Paranormal with light historical undertones, a dash of magic, and a touch of romance, then The Rose Master is for you.
Thank you to REUTS Publications and Netgalley for this review copy.