Burning Roses by S.L. Huang
Author: S.L. Huang
Released: September 29th, 2020
I received a copy of Burning Roses in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Written by S.L. Huang, Burning Roses is a unique fantasy, one that merges elements from classic stories and turns it into something newer.
Rosa is a woman who has been running from her past – the good and the bad. Her flight brought her to Hou Yi, another woman deeply haunted by her past. Together these two forge onward, while trying to come to terms with everything they have done and lost.
“They fit together – tagging onto Hou Yi’s obsession gave Rosa’s life borrowed meaning, and Hou Yi was growing too old to succeed in such recklessness alone.”
Burning Roses is an absolutely enchanting (and occasionally haunting) read about two women and their joined quests. It’s a tale of love and loss, of forgiveness and so much more. Oh, and did I mention it all does so while merging in classic fairy tale elements?
That very well may be my favorite part about this story, if I’m being honest. The subverting of classic stories and turning them into something larger and frequently darker. For example, Rosa is Little Red Riding Hood, but her story is not what you might think. For she has plenty of reasons to feel guilty for what she has done.
Honestly, there’s so much to love about this novella. The main characters, the setting, the world-building, and all of the little details that flesh it out. The infusion of Little Red Riding Hood, Beauty and the Beast, and Goldilocks only helped to bring the story to life, in my mind.
It also brings Chinese lore and fairytales into the mix, which was delightful and insightful. I’ll admit that I don’t know as much as I would like about those stories, but even I could spot some of those elements. It was wonderful, and once again worked to enrich the story being told here.
I love that these characters were allowed to exist as they were. Flawed humans with backstories they weren’t exactly proud of. I also adore that they were both allowed to actually be older women, instead of the classic trope of having them be young and beautiful. Oh! Did I mention that it’s delightfully sapphic as well?
All things considered, I really enjoyed this new telling of fairytales found within Burning Roses. If I’m being completely honest, my only regret is that it ended. I would have happily read more, if there had been any to read. It was that enthralling.