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My Initial Reaction...
Scent of a White Rose got off to a rough start for me, with quite a few eye-rolling moments, but redeemed itself big time in the second half. I still have some things that seem a bit ridiculous to me, but overall, I really enjoyed this different take on vampires.
Stephanie Bentley did a good job narrating Scent of a White Rose. The voices were distinct and had personality. I wasn't blown away, but it was a solid performance. The one thing that bothered me was the way she said the names of characters when the point of view changed. It was super airy, like she was trying to sound very sensual, but instead it made me laugh almost every single time.
Rose is a really immature, naive 20 year old. And that got on my nerves a bit. At one point I thought she was also incredibly stupid, but thankfully I was wrong on that count. Her mother was killed just 6 months before the start of Scent of a White Rose and her father is being understandably protective. Sure, he's going a bit overboard, but Rose's reaction to his protectiveness felt very immature. I think this threw me off because I went into this expecting an adult read, but really got a young adult one, complete with teenage angst.
The other element that felt really immature to me was her relationship with her boyfriend, Christian. These two are talking about loving each other, but every time they're together it's just "let's makeout." Don't get me wrong, I'm all for some sexy goodness, but that's lust. Y'all don't talk enough to be in love!
What I really really liked about Scent of a White Rose was the unique take on vampires. We get a pretty neat origin story a good ways in that I enjoyed and they are very different from your typical vampires - but still recognizable as vampires (they drink blood, don't go out during the day, etc). I particularly liked two things the most - (1) only one vampire in a line has the ability to sire (i.e., create) new vampires at a time and once they lose that ability it takes time for a new sire to rise. (2) Vampires drift between light and dark --- intense emotions can trigger the drifting, which is manifested in a change in appearance to darker features --- but true darkness manifests in the way they treat their prey and is policed.
The vampire mythology really pulled the story along for me, because the actual plot for Scent of a White Rose was FAIRLY predictable. I say fairly because there were a couple of twists that I didn't see coming from the get-go, but once certain plot elements happened, I ended up seeing them before the characters did too. I had one frustration - there's lots of points of view in Scent of a White Rose, which is fine in general, but sometimes the timeline was all over the place. You'd be with one character tonight, the other character tomorrow morning, back to another character still tonight, and then it's morning again, back and forth. That was irritating and a little hard to keep track of at times (especially since it happened most towards the end when everything was really happening).
Although the characters weren't my favorite, I found the vampire mythology really fascinating and the potential story line established in Scent of a White Rose is intriguing enough that I plan to continue with the series.
Where to begin ... these are always the hardest reviews to write. The story kept me entertained enough, but I still had some ... complaints? Let's just jump in with both feet.
I would categorize this as NA (New Adult) because the main character, Rose, is 20, going on 21. Her age is actually really important in the story, because her boyfriend Christian, works at a night club and bar, so she can't go in. When you first start, you find out that Rose's mom was killed in a "freak accident" roughly 6 months before where the story starts. Rose had been seeing Christian before this event, and continued to see him after. But I got the impression that she snuck out to see him whenever she got the chance, waited for him outside by his car, they made out on his breaks, then he went back to work, he never came up to see her, and they never talked on the phone - yet they are in love. O_O Ok, dating just under a year is plenty of time to fall in love, it's just with the way it is written I didn't get the impression their relationship was more than just making out.
The story itself was kind cute, if REALLY cheesy, and very reminiscent of Twilight in certain aspects. While not the most amazing thing ever written ever, I was still entertained the whole way. Even when I was rolling my eyes at things said or done, it was still with a grin on my face.
Something that bothered me over and over ... Rose's school. She says repeatedly she is in college, and she is writing a thesis (which I thought didn't happen until higher levels as my BS didn't have anything resembling a thesis but whatever) HOWEVER she goes to school and comes home at the same time every day, has to ask permission to leave a "study day" in one class to go to the library, is dismissed by bells, and at one point, when she gets in trouble for disturbing class, the teacher says to meet him at the end of the day. All which sounds WAY more like High School than any college I have ever heard of. Again, not a big deal in the scheme of things, but for some reason every time it was brought up it irritated the crap out of me.
There are also several different POV's (points of view) with which the narrator does a good job distinguishing between. Though the weird "whispering" of the names at the beginning of each section was just ... weird. *shrugs* I didn't think all the POV's were needed either. About half way in we start getting some from her dad, and another woman you meet later on. I honestly didn't think either of them were needed for the story. Their sections were always really short as well.
Overall, with the overprotective father (which I didn't even mention), the immaturity of the MC, and the things that happened ... or didn't ... in this story, I think it would have been better suited to a YA (Young Adult) book, rather than have the characters be the ages they were. It would have made more sense. Even with such a low star score from me, I am still curious to see how the story plays out and might continue with this trilogy.