The Rose Gate by Hanna Sandvig

One of my reading missions this year is to discover some indie authors of quality. I love the indie space for many reasons: it’s easier for authors to make a living, authors retain complete creative control over their work, and the author community has a positive, entrepreneurial vibe, rather than the doom-and-gloom of trad pub.

Story quality, however, can be an overlooked issue in the indie space; with the push to rapidly release books (I’m talking 4+ books a year, and sometimes wayyyy more than that), the majority of the indie books I read don’t meet my personal threshold for a quality novel. I totally get why indie authors release like this; readers and store algorithms respond well to rapid release, so there’s a lot of money to be made. When voracious romance fans are breathing down your neck for the next book in a series so they can throw money at you, who can blame an author for getting their book to market as swiftly as possible?

But I’m just not personally a fan of these pulp fiction-type books. No matter how cool a story’s premise, flat characters and weak prose will doom a book for me every time. So that’s why I was so happy to finally get a chance to read Hanna Sandvig’s Beauty and the Beast retelling, The Rose Gate.

Sandvig as an author has been on my radar for a while. (Her author Instagram is to die for, and I’m in the mood for Beauty and the Beast retellings, since I’m writing one myself.) The first in a fairy tale romance series, The Rose Gate follows MC Isobel (otherwise known as Bel–get it?) as she accidentally leaves our modern world for Faerie. Of course, there’s a handsome prince, a curse, and lots of fun flirtation.

This book is a strong first entry in Sandvig’s series. I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s voice, world-building, the characters, and especially the budding romance between Bel and her faerie beau. I do think the book could have done with another pass by an editor, as there are some punctuation issues and especially run-on sentences, but these lessened as the book went along, and I didn’t find they hindered my enjoyment.

Can I also talk real quick about the production quality behind this book as well? Sandvig designs her own covers, and the paperback edition is gorgeous, including full-spread illustrations also by the author. I’m so glad I picked up the paperback version!

The Rose Gate was a twenty-four hour read that really swept me up–it was the palate cleanser I desperately needed after the disastrous The Sound of Stars. I will definitely be taking a look at Sandvig’s future work!

Also, comment down below–do you have any recommendations for other books by indie authors? I’m always on the hunt!

5 thoughts on “The Rose Gate by Hanna Sandvig

  1. I love indie books too. I mostly read the indie authors I find on wattpad. I feel like indie books are often so much more creative and willing to take risks. This book sounds like it might be another Beauty and the Beast retelling. It has strong ACOTAR vibes (and I had to DNF ACOTAR-I just couldn’t do it). I will say the cover really is gorgeous though and I love the title. Thanks for sharing this indie rec with us! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the peek into the indie industry. I sometimes hear people say, “I’m done reading indie books” or “Indie books usually have such low quality” which I always interpreted to mean “Which is why they couldn’t get traditionally published,” which I thought was unfair, but now I see there might be other reasons. 4+ books a year is a lot!

    As for indie book recommendations, I recommend The Resolve of Immortal Flesh and its sequel, The Formulacrum, both by Rich Colburn, whom I know. They are so weird and clever that I really can’t summarize, but I think you might like them. I was mad when I finished Formulacrum because now I have to wait for the third book in the series.

    Liked by 1 person

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