Book Review: Gilded Rose (Celestials #1)

Title: Gilded Rose

Author: Emma Hamm

Pub. Date: November 27. 2019

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

A monster is holding me hostage inside a chateau.

The world is plagued by creatures called the Dread.
And he’s their king.
I’ve tried to run. I’ve tried to hide. But there’s no escaping him.
He wants to turn me into one of the creatures.
Unless… I find a way to break the curse.
A curse that has turned him into the monster that he is.
He wasn’t supposed to destroy cities. He’s one of the Celestials meant to save humanity.
As I uncover the truth and break his curse, I wonder if I’ve lost myself in the process.
Can I still escape him?
Or has he taken my heart forever?

This will be a spoiler free review.

I bought this book on a whim. Facebook and other social media sites kept advertising it to me and I was intrigued. I’m always down for a Beauty and the Beast retelling. They’re always enjoyable, and despite being a “tale as old as time” I’ve never read two that are the same. They’re always new and are a unique take on the story.

This one is no difference.

You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been on this NA, (high) fantasy, fantastical creatures, enemies to lovers/duty marriage/falling in love with the beast, kick and this fit right into what I’ve been craving in books recently. Just let me get absolutely lost in a fantastical read with supernatural/magical being and a human falling in love.

I really loved the world, and whether it was just the audiobook (probably not) that made it come to life, I could easily picture everything. Maybe my mind was pulling from the various BatB movie/stage adaptions (though, mainly the Disney Live Action), but it made it very, very easy to picture the world, the characters, the chateau. I also loved that like most BatB stories, it’s got a French base/feel. It’s not explicitly France, but inspired by and I thought it added a nice touch!

This book starts off in the middle of shit going down and it only gets progressively worse for Amicia (the MC). She has to make choices that she never thought she’d ever have to make and then she has to survive. In a world where creatures called the Dread hunt and turn humans into more Dread, that’s not an easy feat. But she’s smart, tenacious and curious.

True to BatB form, she meets the “beast” the Dread King and she can tell that he’s different and things go sideways fast. But despite the first couple of meetings, I really enjoyed their interactions. I’m always down for a good snark fest and female MCs putting pompous “beasts” in their places. I’m also a sucker for these kinds of romances. Give me more.

I also really liked the history/story that is the basis of the world Amicia lives in. I can only assume we learn more in the other books in the series, but I’m totally here for the Celestials. I loved that element, and the inclusion of the Alchemists…I’m really excited for book 2.

I enjoyed how this book ended, and while Amicia and Alexandre’s story wraps up, but is also just beginning, I’m curious to see if they show up in book 2. It looks like each book in this series is going to take place in a different kingdom, with a different couple. I’m fine with that and I wonder if everything and one will come together. I can’t wait.

If you want a quick, fun, Beauty and the Beast retelling that leaves you wishing you could fall in love with a fantastical, magical being, then you should definitely check this out. I doubt you’ll be disappointed!

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