Book Review: City of Roses by Donovan Pruitt

Posted October 17, 2015 by @Angelized_1st in 2015 Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge, Books, Entertainment, Reading Challenges / 2 Comments

I received this book for free from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: City of Roses by Donovan PruittCity of Roses by Donovan Pruitt
on May 5th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 148
Format: eBook, Paperback
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
ISBN: 9781943352005
Buy on: Amazon

A young man ventures to his lost love's childhood home in the abandoned city of Pripyat, Ukraine. When a sudden accident puts him off-course, he awakes to discover a lively and vibrant culture living in a nearby village and a woman who reignites his heart. But something sinister lurks in the shadows, and he must face the terror and help defend the village from evil before it is lost forever. Go beyond the tragedy of Chernobyl and discover the magic in the City of Roses.

This review was originally meant to be part of the City of Roses Blog Tour, yet I had to withdraw my review of the book due to its unfavorable nature. In City of Roses, a young man wakes to discover he’s in some strange place, with a creature trying to kill him. This novel is marketed as a paranormal romance, and it is, but the characters are not very well-developed.

The main character seems to be suffering from amnesia. He doesn’t know who he is, and readers never learn who he is either. His love interest is also a big great mystery. She arrives as someone helping the hero recover from the animal? attack, and the two fall in love. Later, other important details are revealed about her character, but by then I didn’t care enough about her to give a hoot.

The world these people live in is in the abandoned city of Pripyat, Ukraine. The city was abandoned after the horrible Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster on April 26, 1986. For some reason when I read the synopsis I expected the evil mentioned would be malformed creatures created by the nuclear explosion. I was wrong. Instead, author Donovan Pruitt uses Slavic folklore to tell his story. The problem is, Slavic folklore isn’t as widely known (by me, at least) as Greco-Roman, Egyptian, or Norse mythology, so I had no idea what he was talking about without the help of Google. Having to look up the mythical creatures from the story took me out of the world Pruitt hoped to build, keeping me from ever getting interested in the story. Since City of Roses is a novella, that’s a huge problem. This could have been helped if Pruitt hadn’t assumed readers would be as well versed about Slavic myth and folklore as he obviously is.

I don’t recommend this story. The author takes the populace’s interest and knowledge in Slavic folklore for granted. This assumption kept me continuously lost in the story. Nothing happened the way I expected from one minute to the next. While this would usually be a good thing, it wasn’t in this case. The author sets up the “rules” of this fictional world, and then contradicts them. Most notably, a character towards the end of the story tells another that something was impossible. The next scene? The impossible happens without explanation. Ugh! To this day, I still have no idea what I read or what happened in the story. Give City of Roses a hard pass!

Rating Report
Overall: 1.3

About Donovan Pruitt

Donovan Pruitt has a passion for science fiction and fantasy, especially those titles that trend toward young and new adult storytelling. City of Roses was his first standalone book as an indie author, though he has also written for video games and was previously published as a co-author in the fantasy genre. You can visit him online at or join the discussion on Twitter @KalaEmpire


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