A Curse of Roses is an intense sapphic YA fantasy. Based on the live of Saint Yzabel, it is a story about the internalized homophobia and sexism. About trying to embrace who we are, and love, in a world that seeks to put us into boxes. Keep reading this book review to read my full thoughts!
With just one touch, bread turns into roses. With just one bite, cheese turns into lilies.
There’s a famine plaguing the land, and Princess Yzabel is wasting food simply by trying to eat. Before she can even swallow, her magic—her curse—has turned her meal into a bouquet. She’s on the verge of starving, which only reminds her that the people of Portugal have been enduring the same pain.
If only it were possible to reverse her magic. Then she could turn flowers…into food.
Fatyan, a beautiful Enchanted Moura, is the only one who can help. But she is trapped by magical binds. She can teach Yzabel how to control her curse—if Yzabel sets her free with a kiss.
As the King of Portugal’s betrothed, Yzabel would be committing treason, but what good is a king if his country has starved to death?
With just one kiss, Fatyan is set free. And with just one kiss, Yzabel is yearning for more.
She’d sought out Fatyan to help her save the people. Now, loving her could mean Yzabel’s destruction.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: homophobia (also internalized), self-harm, ” magic-based disordered eating”, sexism
A Curse of Roses is a story about self-acceptance and questioning the beliefs we assume to be true. In a society where queer identity and magical powers are considered evil and demonic, A Curse of Roses portrays the difficult journey of questioning the authority figures in our lives. Whether it be religion or the government, Yzabel’s journey is about finding the strength within ourselves to accept who we really are apart from what we might have been told. Her journey has to be my favorite element of A Curse of Roses, this sapphic fantasy about power and the truth.
Power & Sexism
The lines between curses and gifts is often tenuous at best. You know those lines about great power? It’s like that. With power comes the potential to misuse it and also use it to change the world. In A Curse of Roses, readers see both. The ways gifts can be turned into curses, fear into hatred, and love into possession. Fast paced, A Curse of Roses discusses the beliefs we’ve grown up with and the ideology that is imparted to us. While love has the ability to bloom, it also has the ability to wither.
At times, this book is hard to swallow because of the internalized homophobia and sexism, but it’s also a world that, in some ways, doesn’t feel too removed from our own. How people become trapped within the Patriarchy and told that their identity is wrong. How, to keep attacking women with power, is a response of fear. The story also allows the nuanced characters to come forward, those who may accept parts of you. Because no one is perfect and A Curse of Roses is very much a story about change and evolving (self)acceptance.