Book Reviews

Review: Burning Roses by S.L. Huang

I’d like to just pre-order all upcoming queer novellas from Tor please. Because of that, I’ve been looking forward to Burning Roses by Huang ever since it was announced. This queer fairy tale retelling is a story about confronting our fears, living our truths, and coming to terms with our mistakes. Keep reading this book review to see how I enjoyed this queer novella.


Rosa, also known as Red Riding Hood, is done with wolves and woods.

Hou Yi the Archer is tired, and knows she’s past her prime.

They would both rather just be retired, but that’s not what the world has ready for them.

When deadly sunbirds begin to ravage the countryside, threatening everything they’ve both grown to love, the two must join forces. Now blessed and burdened with the hindsight of middle age, they begin a quest that’s a reckoning of sacrifices made and mistakes mourned, of choices and family and the quest for immortality


(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

The world of Burning Roses is one of fairy tales. It’s a story about a quest to come to terms with the mistakes of our past. But at the same time, we see the snippets of that past. The mistakes of youth, cowardice, and fear. Burning Roses is more introspective than the summary might appear. When we’ve started walking down a path of revenge and violence, how can we turn away? Love can change us, make us see our life is not just a cycle of revenge and violence.

While I loved the themes of Burning Roses, and the queer characters, I just wanted some more depth into the side characters. Since a lot of the story is taken up by the way the past haunts us, I wanted to see more dimensions to the side characters. A considerable amount of the character development is dedicated to the hard work of making amends. Of being with the people who see us, our flaws, mistakes, and cowardice. It was certainly a novella I enjoyed reading, but in some ways it felt a little incomplete? And I wish there had been more detail into the sunbirds!

Find Burning Roses on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite queer novella?

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