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Literature / Bryony and Roses

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A retelling of Beauty and the Beast by T. Kingfisher (aka Ursula Vernon).

Bryony, along with her sisters, struggles to make a living in a small village far from the city they used to call home. Their father is dead, killed in an effort to regain his fortune.

Bryony is caught in a snowstorm, and stumbles into an abandoned manor seeking shelter. She soon finds that the place is full of dark enchantments. Is the Beast that lives there her captor or another prisoner? Is the house attempting to aid her, or is it an enemy? And what's with the courtyard full of roses blooming in midwinter? An avid gardner, Bryony only has her wits and gardening shears. She'll need both to unravel the house's secrets before they swallow her — or the Beast — down.

Contains examples of:

  • Author Appeal: The author is a gardener. The heroine of the story is chosen specifically because of her gardening expertise. Also Author Disapproval: she does not care for roses. She finds them invasive, temperamental, and liable to hurt you.
  • Banister Slide: Bryony notes that the staircase in the Beast's mansion has a banister that looks perfect for sliding down — and a spiky bit at the end that looks perfect for impaling anybody who tried.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Bryony's first encounter with the Beast, raging over her taking the enchanted rose, ends with her fainting; when she wakes up, she's mortified to realise that she's also wet herself.
  • Dead Guy on Display: When the rose begins its attack, it makes a sequence of gruesome and obscene displays in the windows using the skeletal corpses of the prince's former servants.
  • Don't Be Ridiculous: Before Bryony finds out why the Beast is interested in her, she comments that for all she knows he plans to sacrifice her to the moon gods at the next equinox. He tells her not to be ridiculous: sacrifices to the moon gods take place at the solstice. Then he reminds her that he's already promised her that his plans do not include her death.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: The Beast, who passes the time making clockwork creations.
  • Genius Bruiser: The Beast is of course physically powerful, but is also extremely well read and enjoys engineering.
  • No Immortal Inertia: It's mentioned that people transformed by curses don't age while the curse lasts, but when they regain their true form all their age catches up with them at once, with possibly disastrous results if they've been under curse for a long time.
  • Not His Sled: The earliest versions of Beauty and the Beast have a subplot in which Beauty is torn between her growing connection with the Beast and an attractive prince who appears in her dreams begging for help; most modern adaptations skip it, because everyone knows the ending and can easily foresee the revelation that the dream prince is the Beast. Bryony and Roses puts it back in, but the attractive young man in the dreams isn't the Beast — it's the novel's equivalent of the witch who cursed him, trying to distract Bryony so she won't break the curse. Bryony never does get to see the Beast's human form because, in another Not His Sled moment, the Beast opts at the end to remain in the form in which she grew to love him.
  • Twice-Told Tale: A retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" where the Beauty-equivalent is a keen gardener, the evil-fairy-equivalent is a rose dryad who's just as trapped by the curse as the Beast is, and the Beast chooses not to become human again at the end.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: The mansion itself is a transformed dryad who loved the Prince, and is still dangerously protective of him.