Saturday, August 10, 2013

Mini Review: The Rose Bride by Nancy Holder

The Rose Bride
by Nancy Holder

Release Date: June 26, 2007
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 245
Received: Library
Stars: 3.5
Goodreads Page

I'm a big fan of the Once Upon a Time series, though admittedly some entries in the series have been stronger than others. The Rose Bride falls somewhere in the middle.

Nancy Holder nailed the fairy tale feeling and the whole story had that magical story quality that I like to see in retellings. That also means the characters aren't SUPER developed, but that's not really a problem in fairy tales. Still, surprisingly, especially considering it's such a short book, there's actually a lot of stuff going on in terms of both character growth and events. 

Rose, the heroine, was instantly likable and I felt strongly for her as she suffered through the requisite fairy tale trials (and they were so sad!). The villains of the story were creepy and easy to hate while still being people I cared about enough to continually hope they would redeem themselves in the end. The king had more depth than a stock Prince Charming, and I liked how he actually had a character arc of his own.

The story itself was really enjoyable. Elements are taken from the original Grimm version The White Bride and the Black One as well as Cinderella (or, more directly, the movie Ever After. Actually, VERY strongly from Ever After). There's also this whole part toward the latter half of the book that seems to speak directly (against) the fairy tale tradition of love at first sight. I'm not a big fan of instalove, so I especially appreciated this part.

But, everything wasn't perfect. The writing was jumbled in some parts with a few sentences making very little sense. Some plot points were also unnecessarily convoluted or not presented in the best way. They weren't deal breakers for me, but they were present enough that they're still worth noting.

I also didn't love the combination of French language and setting, a total fantasy kingdom, and Greek mythology. This was another feature that seemed jumbled. Two elements might have worked, but the presence of all three didn't make sense and was distracting.

Overall enjoyable and an entry worth reading by fans of the series. I'm glad I picked this up.

Looking for another book like this?
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 Click on the pictures to go to Goodreads.



  1. I love the idea behind this series but know that a lot of them have their weaknesses. I missed this one but still might check it out anyway as Cinderella retellings tend to be my favorite.

    1. They do have their weaknesses, but I think if you go into them understanding that they're light fairy tales then there's a lot to enjoy. I've very much enjoyed more of them than not. I liked Before Midnight (Cinderella retelling) and loved Beauty Sleep (Sleeping Beauty)and Golden (Rapunzel).

  2. I does sound like it falls very much in the middle. I still might pick it up though, I haven't read one of these in a while and I kind of miss it :)

    1. Yup, definitely a middle book, which is not a bad thing. I still have a few of these "saved" for when I want a fix from this series. I wish they were still writing new books in it.

  3. I read a few books in this series a long time ago and while I never really loved any of them, I did enjoy them. I think I was just happy to have some more books that let me indulge in fairytales.

    1. I wish they were writing more in the series. I love how they are so short that you can get a quick, easy fairy tale fix.

  4. Hmmm...sounds like a great series even if they all are not executed perfectly!

    1. Yes, it is a wonderful series! I think as long as you go into them knowing they're not perfect or filled with a ton of depth, then you'll hopefully enjoy them. Some are definitely better than others.


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