By: Melanie | October 24, 2013 | (20) Comments

Mini Review: Briar Rose by Jana OliverBriar Rose by Jana Oliver
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Release Date: September 12, 2013
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, Romance, YA
Pages: 470
Source: Received in exchange for review
Goodreads | Purchase

A dark and sexy reimagining of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale from the author of THE DEMON TRAPPERS.

For Briar Rose, life is anything but a fairy tale. She's stuck in a small town in deepest Georgia with parents who won't let her out of their sight, a bunch of small-minded, gossiping neighbours and an evil ex who's spreading nasty rumours about what she may or may not have done in the back of his car. She's tired of it all, so when, on her sixteenth birthday, her parents tell her that she is cursed and will go to sleep for a hundred years when the clock strikes midnight, she's actually kind of glad to leave it all behind. She says her goodbyes, lies down, and closes her eyes . . . And then she wakes up. Cold, alone and in the middle of the darkest, most twisted fairy tale she could ever have dreamed of. Now Briar must fight her way out of the story that has been created for her, but she can't do it alone. She never believed in handsome princes, but now she's met one her only chance is to put her life in his hands, or there will be no happy ever after and no waking up.

My Review

After all the praises I heard from The Demon Trappers, I was truly convinced that Briar Rose would be an outstanding read. However, that was not the case.

Briar Rose has been obsessed with fairy tales from a young age–however she does not live in one. With her parents following her every move, and not letting her go anywhere near the boy she once played with all the time. But it’s worse as her ex-boyfriend has been spreading fake rumours around and nearly everyone believes them. Then on the night before her sixteenth birthday, Briar learns why her parents have been so over-protective. A curse has been put on her and she is to die on her sixteenth birthday. Yet, the next day Briar wakes up, only not in bed. She wakes up in a fairy-tale like setting. More specifically, on like Sleeping Beauty’s.

I liked the idea of what Jana Oliver was trying to spread. Reality over imagination, even if reality seems harsh at times. We have the main character, Briar trying to accept that imagination/the fake world is not real and will never be as great as reality in the long run. However what killed my enjoyment was the characters. The entire cast was bland and they all seemed far too similar or non-outstanding from one and another. It doesn’t really help in this case that it’s written in third person as it just weakened my connection with Briar. Briar was actually bearable, I liked her strong headed-ness to save someone she had merely met but that just opened a logic hole of; why the hell would you want to save someone you barely know? Especially when you have an opening to get out of the curse and to the real world. I get that the author is attempting to promote a selfless character yet other plot holes (that I shall not divulge) are not really convincing either.

Not really convincing story or likeable characters is an immediate no-no for me. I guess I went in with high expectations yet I still cannot shake the thought that I expected more from such a highly-praised author.

 ~Thank you Pan Macmillan Australia for sending me this copy!~

2 Stars
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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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20 Responses to Mini Review: Briar Rose by Jana Oliver

  1. Celine says:

    Oh no 🙁 I hate it when the character and plot holes ruin a good concept. I completely agree with what you said about Briar saving someone she barely knew. Although we don’t have to like it, I do think that humans are pretty selfish. If I had to choose between saving myself or saving someone I’d known for about three seconds… Yeah, I would save myself.

    Sorry it was such a disappointment. Great review <3
    Celine recently posted…Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. MaasMy Profile

  2. That’s too bad about this one. Never heard of it before so I guess that’s a good thing. I like the cover though.
    Jennifer Bielman recently posted…Kindle & Nook Freebies #55My Profile

  3. That’s too bad! I’m still going to give it a shot (fairytales and me, it’s just too irresistible), but I’ll lower my expectations. Thanks for the honest review Mel 😀
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Review 208. Paula Guran – OUAT: New fairy tales.My Profile

  4. Renu says:

    Oh, this is so disappointing. 🙁 I’ve read quite a few meh reviews of this, and it saddens me because I loved her Demon Trappers series. Not as keen to read this anymore tbh.

    Thanks for the honest review, Mel! <3 Hope this book doesn't discourage you from picking up the Demon Trappers series, though.
    Renu recently posted…Into the Still Blue by Veronica RossiMy Profile

  5. Sorry you didn’t like this one! I haven’t really read any of these fairy-tell retellings, but I guess I should find another one to start with.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Cover Reveal: Embers and Ash by T.M. GoegleinMy Profile

  6. Giselle says:

    Another selfless MC, huh? A lot of these lately I find. I like the sounds of this one but it’s too bad it doesn’t seem to live up to its potential. I like the reality over imagination idea you brought up too that’s intriguing. Not liking the characters is the main reason why I would not be able to get into a book, too. I want personality and realism not bland cookie cutters. Well it has a pretty cover!
    Giselle recently posted…Review: Bold Tricks by Karina HalleMy Profile

  7. Annie says:

    Bland characters and plot holes are a bit of a problem. Sorry this wasn’t as easy to enjoy as it might have been, the synopsis does sound amazing. I love fairytale retellings.

    I did read the first Demon Trappers book and while it was okay (again it had a strong leading lady) it didn’t convince me that I had to read on. I think something about JO’s writing style doesn’t quite work for me.
    Annie recently posted…Book Review: Hearts in Darkness by Laura KayeMy Profile

  8. Shelly says:

    Awww, I’m sad to see you didn’t like this one! It sounds really interesting and the take on fairytales seems so compelling but I hate when characters are unrelateable. Awesome review! 🙂
    Shelly recently posted…Shelly Rambles: CommentingMy Profile

  9. Candace says:

    I have had The Demon Trappers for years but haven’t read it. I hadn’t heard of this one but I guess I won’t rush to get to get it. I’ll have to read Demon Trappers and see what I think though.
    Candace recently posted…Discussion: Social Media and BloggingMy Profile

  10. Retelling of fairy tales is a tricky subject. Sometimes it works, sometimes it turns out to be a disaster.
    Dre @ Sporadic Reads recently posted…83. Onyx (Lux 2) by Jennifer L. ArmentroutMy Profile

  11. Amelia says:

    Oh that really sucks because I was looking forward to this one! Her Demon Trappers series was amazing 🙁 Fab review Mel! 😀

  12. Johanna Richards says:

    NOOOOOOOO WHY MEL. I really liked this one and DT was even better. I understand why you didn’t like it, but I’m still so sad to see this be a disappointment for you. You need to try DT still!

  13. Henrietta says:

    I wonder if this may be a particular writing style associated with fairy tales. I’ve read a number of fairy tales/ fantasies by authors in the late 90’s and early 2000’s and their stories seem to carry this similar tone that you’re sharing – third person perspective, non-distinctive characters, selfless protagonist. Depends on my mood, I sometimes adore these stories or read them right before I doze off. Hope your next-read will turn out to be more enjoyable. 🙂
    Henrietta recently posted…Moon Called – Patricia BriggsMy Profile

  14. A shame that you didn’t enjoy it Mel. It sounds interesting and I like how it’s based on fairy tales but yeah, if its full of plot holes and stuff it’s not really worth it. Great review!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Of Poseidon by Anna Banks Review: Featuring the densest mermaid everMy Profile

  15. Megan says:

    This one sounds like it had potential based on the synopsis, but too bad it didn’t work for you.
    Megan recently posted…Truth or Dare Friday (#4)My Profile

  16. Rachel says:

    Sorry this didn’t work for you, Melanie. It sounded like such an intriguing premise.
    Rachel recently posted…Special Guest Post: Easy by Tammara WebberMy Profile

  17. Writing and connecting with characters are the most important elements in a book to me. I love the plot idea of this book. I don’t think someone would risk everything for a person they barely know either. Excellent review!
    Rachel @ Unforgettable Books recently posted…ARC Review: The Iron Traitor by Julie KagawaMy Profile

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