The Bear and the Rose | Critical Book Review

In The Bear and the Rose by E.K. Larson-Burnett, readers are thrust into a world teeming with folklore, curses, and divine interventions. The story unfolds in a setting where humans seamlessly transform into bears, and community elders forge pacts with gods for safeguarding. The protagonist, Rhoswen, known as the “warrior rose,” shoulders the responsibility of defending her village from marauding bears during the dreaded “waking nightmare” of Spring.

Love Amidst the Chaos

This fantasy novel takes an unexpected turn when Rhoswen encounters a captivating woman after a bear attack. In a sudden shift of focus, Rhoswen abandons her village to embark on a daring quest, driven by the fervent desire to liberate her newfound love from a perilous forest curse. The narrative weaves together elements of love, loyalty, revenge, and the struggle against the forces of nature.

Lyrical Prose and Imaginative World-Building

Larson-Burnett’s writing exudes lyricism, evoking the feel of a melodic folksong intertwined with classic poetry. Nature and beauty are intricately woven into the fabric of this imagined world. The novel oscillates between scenes of bloody conflict and alliances with mythical creatures, creating a captivating tapestry of emotions and experiences. Memorable phrases like “a knotting of whispers under my ribcage” contribute to the novel’s poetic allure.

A Fantasy Adventure with a Quick Pace

Filled with wild creatures, dramatic gods, dysfunctional families, and mythical tricksters, The Bear and the Rose maintains a brisk pace, offering readers a thrilling journey with satisfying twists and turns. The novel’s energetic narrative makes it an engaging choice for a captivating afternoon read, presenting an alternative for those seeking fantasy without committing to the extensive word count typical of the genre.

Reality-Shifting Twists and Emotional Depths

The story’s enthralling pace is complemented by jaw-dropping plot twists, adding layers of complexity to Rhoswen’s quest. Notably, encounters with depressed gods and the exploration of their melancholy breathe life into the magical elements of the tale. The novel skillfully blends the fantastical with the emotional, creating a unique reading experience.

Inclusivity and Representation

For readers with diverse backgrounds and experiences, The Bear and the Rose offers a relatable protagonist. Rhoswen’s journey mirrors the struggles of those dealing with anxiety and disability. The novel’s dedication to “the anxious pickers, those with restless fingers” resonates with its protagonist’s internal and physical challenges, showcasing an empowering representation.

Final Verdict

The Bear and the Rose emerges as a captivating narrative that seamlessly blends folklore, romance, and fantasy elements. E.K. Larson-Burnett’s imaginative storytelling, coupled with the novel’s brisk pace and emotional depth, makes it a commendable choice for those seeking a fantasy adventure with a touch of the extraordinary.

Publisher, Genre, Print Length, and ISBN

PublisherGenrePrint LengthISBN
Not specifiedFantasy / LGBTQ366 pages9781088084472

In The Bear and the Rose by E.K. Larson-Burnett, readers are thrust into a world teeming with folklore, curses, and divine interventions. The story unfolds in a setting where humans seamlessly transform into bears, and community elders forge pacts with gods for safeguarding. The protagonist, Rhoswen, known as the “warrior rose,” shoulders the responsibility of…