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A Forgery of Roses

[A quick note: This was one of my hugely anticipated reads for spring. I read Jessica’s Sing Me Forgotten and LOVED it, so I couldn’t wait for this one. The ending had an interesting ominous feel that hinted maybe there could be a second, but it’s definitely got a stand alone feel. I’d be curious to know if she has plans to write a second.]

“𝐍𝐨 𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐩𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐛𝐫𝐮𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐬 𝐈 𝐦𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐨𝐫 𝐰𝐡𝐢𝐜𝐡 𝐜𝐨𝐥𝐨𝐫𝐬 𝐈 𝐦𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐛𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐝, 𝐈 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐧𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐜𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐦𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭. 𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐦𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚 𝐩𝐚𝐬𝐭 𝐦𝐞 𝐦𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝 𝐟𝐥𝐚𝐰𝐞𝐝. 𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐦𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐬𝐬𝐨 𝐮𝐧𝐮𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐲 𝐟𝐥𝐚𝐰𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬.”—Jessica S. Olsen

Myra is a Prodigy, someone capable of magic through painting. When she’s commissioned to paint someone back to life, she gets wrapped up in a dangerous plot that could be the death of her.

Gothic vibes, art magic, gritty, dark, and high stakes make this book un-put-down-able. Add in a couple of health disparities for realism, and you’ve got the whole package! I looooved Jessica’s previous book, Sing Me Forgotten, so I had high hopes for this one. It delivered!

While I didn’t like it quite as much, it was still a great read. SO MUCH FUN. It had just the right amount of mystery to give off Stalking Jack the Ripper vibes. I couldn’t figure out who the murderer was. There were some definite twists and turns that made it gripping. The ending sequence was my absolute favorite. I love when a book goes out on a BANG!

The art magic was so unique. The idea that a painter can paint a portrait, then layer on the changes they wish to make to alter someone’s appearance or physical ailments, was something I haven’t really encountered. The other strength of this book was its character transformations. I loved the way both Myra and August changed, overcoming their weaknesses. While Myra was someone who didn’t like letting others in, she put that aside for the sake of her sister and her safety. While August struggled with crippling anxiety, he put that aside when Myra’s life was at stake. It only took him a few tries, but in the end, he did what he needed to, to save her.

My only negative was the beginning sequence of chapters. The premise didn’t feel believable. Myra is asked to paint a portrait for the governor’s wife. The governor is known for hating Prodigies, and there’s even talk that he’s behind the disappearance of them. This puts Myra in SIGNIFICANT danger. Especially since her parents have disappeared and her mother was a gifted Prodigy. And yet, Myra makes the careless choice to use her magic to heal the cut on the governor’s wife’s dog while painting them. I mean…I get her wanting to help, but it just didn’t feel believable, the choice to use her magic despite the severe danger, despite so much at stake. When I read that, I was worried this book wasn’t going to work for me. But I’m so glad I kept reading! Once I settled into the main events, it turned into a fantastic read!

This is a great YA story. It’s gritty and dark, similar to Jessica’s debut. I’m noticing a style from her that I’m totally HERE for. 𝐌𝐘 𝐑𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐍𝐆: 𝟒/𝟓⭐️

Big thank you to Inkyard Press for sending me a proof copy in exchange for a review.


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