A Forgery of Roses by Jessica S. Olson
Reviewed by GGGinny
**We received an advanced copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. We’d like to thank Jessica and Inkyard Press for the opportunity. This book comes out on March 29th and you can get it here or at your local independent book store**
What I drank: Red Whine (no that’s not a typo). There was a nice Pinot Noir from Oregon, and a Malbec from a box. It was a game night with friends and honestly, it was such a nice break!
Myra Whitlock has a gift. One many would kill for.
She’s an artist whose portraits alter people’s real-life bodies, a talent she must hide from those who would kidnap, blackmail, and worse in order to control it. Guarding that secret is the only way to keep her younger sister safe now that their parents are gone.
But one frigid night, the governor’s wife discovers the truth and threatens to expose Myra if she does not complete a special portrait that would resurrect the governor’s dead son. Desperate, Myra ventures to his legendary stone mansion.
Once she arrives, however, it becomes clear the boy’s death was no accident. Someone dangerous lurks within these glittering halls. Someone harboring a disturbing obsession with portrait magic.
Myra cannot do the painting until she knows what really happened, so she turns to the governor’s older son, a captivating redheaded poet. Together, they delve into the family’s most shadowed affairs, racing to uncover the truth before the secret Myra spent her life concealing makes her the killer’s next victim.
From Sing Me Forgotten author Jessica S. Olson comes a gothic fantasy murder mystery perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Erin A. Craig.
Drunk Overview: Certain artists have the ability to change things through their paintings. Myra is dealing with the fact that her “prodigy” mother has disappeared, as has her father. She’s responsible for her younder sister who seems to be dealing with a food allergy a la gluten intolerance, and has been given the opportunity to make a ton of money by painting the shitty mayor’s wife, by raising their son from the dead.
Drunk Thoughts: I wasn’t expecting this book to be quite as much of a mystery as it was. But I liked the way the painting magic worked.
- I also liked the world building that the god was referred to as “artist.” I think it did a nice job of putting into place how art was viewed in the world, and what made it controversial.
- I really enjoyed Lucy’s character (she’s the sick sister), and the way that Myr’s protectiveness really fit into the storey.
- Okay, so plot, again, I wasn’t expecting the emphasis on Myra solving the actual murder. And at times I foudn it frustrating.
- Again, I really enjoyed the descriptions of how the magic worked, and would have liked more of that, and even the world-building, than the murder mystery.
- Part of that is due to the fact aht I foudn the love-triangle just a little bit boring. We have the son of the rich asshole she’s technically working for, or the forger who seems a bit mysterious…
- That being said, there were parts of the plot that had been nicely foreshadowed, and became more important much later on.
- Again, part of my frustration was the fact taht Id didn’t really connect with either love interest.
- I liked the fact that August (the firsst-born but ignored son of the shitty mayor) dealth with anxiety and how much of his character that was. But honestly, there wasn’t really much more of his character.
- Sidenote, I find poetry withint novels to usually be REALLY cringe-y.
- Meanwhile, Vincent was a bit more interesting, but still always seemed to take advantage of situation.
- He also felt like a little bit of a Deus ex Machina at the point where Myra ends up in trouble.
- I found the world to be really interesting, and would have liked a little more of it.
- I also liked the fact that the sotry focused on someone who had fallen from grace, and was experienced with hard work while also knowing the finer things in life.
- There are so many interesting ideas about portraist and art in general in a world where the god is considered an Artist. While the controversial nature of that was referenced, it wasn’t talked about in depth (neither was the attitude towards any of hte other ‘arts’ i.e. writing, crafting, photography (although I’m not sure cameras had been invented).
- I was also really interested in the way medicine was handled. Lucy, the sister, ahs a disease that no one really understands, and it read like celiac disease, but I really liked the way it was described, how it would be understood without the details that we know now.
- While this ended with a little bit of a hint about what could happen next, not sure I feel the need for that. I felt like this was a pretty complete book.
What it Pairs With: Rosé. So much of this book deals with roses and how that affects that paint that I don’t see how the drink could be anything other than rosé.
Rating: 3.5/5. Honestly, while I love the concept, I’m not sure this book knocked it out of the park, and I feel no need continue in this world.