REVIEW: Rose

Rami Ungar — Castrum Press — 19 June 2019 — 208 pages — Psychological Thriller

Rose Taggert awakens in a greenhouse with no clear memory of the past two years and, to her horror, finds her body transformed into an unrecognizable form.

Paris Kuyper has convinced Rose that they are lovers and as Paris could not bear for her to die, he has used an ancient and dark magic to save her from certain death.

But the dark magic Paris has used comes at a price. A price which a terrible demon is determined to extract from Rose.

As Rose struggles to understand what is happening to her, she must navigate Paris’s lies and secrets; secrets that Paris will do anything to protect.

Rose

Rose wakes after almost dying – apparently at the hands of her stalker – in what she finds to be the penthouse apartment of her boyfriend, Paris, a man and a relationship she doesn’t remember at all. He has done a spell from an ancient book, traded with the Japanese to get and passed down over generations, to save her life, unwilling to live without her, but the spell had some side-effects that Paris had not expected. Changes immediately begin to happen to her body… and that’s just the beginning of this story.

I fell in love with the cover and agreed to read this book based on that. I know I know, but for those of y’all who have been following my reviews for awhile, this should be something that doesn’t surprise you. I possibly skimmed through the book description, but… honestly… I don’t remember reading any of what I posted above [the cover image]. So who knows.

Despite my hinky reasoning behind agreeing to read a book…

This book was definitely not a disappointment. In fact, it was so good that I began it one night before bed (a habit I may one day blog about) and finished reading it around 3 in the morning, followed by writing pages – lots of them – in my journal about the book and how I felt about it. I just… had to let it all out and get my mind around everything that happened… and at 3 in the morning, there aren’t many people awake to hear you go on and on about a book you just finished.

It was one of those moments where you shut your Kindle and just sit there for a few minutes, unsure of what to do next.

The story was something quite different than what I normally find out there.

It was almost a mystery, with Rose having to figure out what is going on, not just to her physically, but around her as well, unsure of what to believe and who to trust. The addition of certain clues that make even the reader wonder if they are false or not really added to the story. Her changes made me think of a fantasy book, especially with magic being involved, and as usual with magic, things don’t always go the way that you have planned. The psychological thriller aspects of the whole thing were evident from almost the very beginning, when you see how characters interact with each other, and start finding out about their different pasts. There was even some horror added to the mix, when you consider one particular character you meet along the way, one who ends up being far more important to the story than you originally think.

Characters

Usually I can pick one or two characters from a story that I absolutely loved, but in this story I can’t say that I particularly liked any of them, but I must have, on some level, in order to have been unable to put the book down.

I was very curious about Rose and who she really was. As the description says, she can’t remember what’s happened over the last two years, but she knows herself and knows that some things that are being said just don’t make sense. Stories being told about her didn’t always add up to that knowledge, which left her confused at times, wondering if she could have really changed that much over the two years she seems to have lost. I found the way the author wrote her intriguing. In almost every story, the main character grows, but her growth was different, as it was more an actual finding herself, rather than a changing to become who she was truly meant to be. A well-done character.

Not all of the characters were who they originally seemed to be, and as more depth was added to them as the story progressed, you found out that some characters you didn’t like were ones that maybe weren’t as bad as they were made out to be, or once you heard their reasoning, you looked at them a little differently. That also happened with characters you took a liking to because, as the story progressed and you found out more about them, things came out that made you question your first impressions.

I wasn’t sure, as the story went on, if Rose was going to turn out to be the hero that the story needed, but in the end, she was definitely that.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Interesting characters.
  • The ever-changing settings were not always described as much as I would have liked them to be, but all had a point and added to the story.
  • The underlying story of magic was intriguing and was obviously well-researched. The magic itself was almost like another character, as it had a lot of parts in the story, not just his use of magic to save her life.

Cons:

  • As I stated above, there wasn’t any particular character that, in the end, I can say was my favorite. Not an actual “con,” but something that usually bothers me when it comes to a story. In this case, though, it didn’t actually cause harm to the story, as the characters were interesting enough – and the story was intriguing enough – that I plowed through.
  • There were some editing issues that drove me bonkers, but I am hoping that they were just in the copy I received and didn’t make it to the final copy.

Final Thoughts

This is definitely a story that I would recommend to others, especially people who enjoy several genres, as this one could fit perfectly in more than one.

Just don’t blame me if you, too, are up until after 3 in the morning unable to put it down…

Rami Ungar knew he wanted to be a writer from the age of five, when he first became exposed to the world of Harry Potter and wanted to create imaginative worlds like Harry’s. As a tween, he fell in love with the works of Anne Rice and Stephen King and, as he was getting too old to sneak up on people and shout “Boo!’ (not that that ever stopped him), he decided to merge his two loves and become a horror writer.

Today, Rami lives and writes in Columbus, Ohio. He’s self-published three novels and one collection of short stories, and his stories have appeared in other publications here and there. Rose, his first novel with Castrum Press, was released June 21st, 2019.

When he’s not writing your nightmares or coming up with those, he’s enjoying anything from the latest horror novel or movie to anime and manga to ballet, collecting anything that catches his fancy, and giving you the impression he may not be entirely human.

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