The Fire Rose
As a scholar of ancient history Rose is a well studied young woman. Unfortunately, her father has left her with multiple debts and no way to pay them. A position found by her old teacher seems to be the answer to her problems, but all is not as it seems.
Rose is such an insightful character. If she wasn’t a scholar, I would probably call Lackey out for fancifully making a character too knowledgeable – but Rose is believable, if you think of her as the PhD student she almost was.
It seems at some times like the entirety of this book is based on irony! All the time Paul and Jason are at opposite ends of the spectrum, both thinking that they have the upper hand, when really it’s Rose who has the idea of what is going on! And other times it is Rose and Jason who don’t seem to be compatible.
As one of Lackey’s earlier works (the first in the Elemental Masters series) this is a great example of Lackey’s style before she started churning out lesser quality books recently. The characters are well developed, there are several minor plots going on, and the whole thing is seamless.
Paul is disgusting. I really don’t like him – and I’m not supposed to. His character alters this novel from being a simple Beauty and the Beast fairytale retelling into something with more depth. By rights this novel should have been part of my offerring for the Midsummer Night’s Giveaway, but I was overseas and away from my bookshelf.
I thought that Rose’s initial idea of suicide was reasonable, but the way that Lackey brought it back in later in the story seemed a little absurd, and really stuck out for me. There was no need to talk about it several times – Rose has enough going on as it is.
I’d recommend this book for adults and older teens. There are many hints of rape and torture and various other unsavoury practices, but none of them are actually described in real detail, other than the horrible little cribs.