City of Roses by Donovan Pruitt

City of Roses by Donovan Pruitt
Publication date: May 5th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult

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.

Goodreads | Amazon

This book is one that is almost difficult for me to describe. The content of this book was very dense. I very much appreciate the depth of culture it held at times I was unsure of exactly what was going on in the plot. This book is a work of fiction that exists within the Chernobyl disaster in Pripyat Ukrain. I was very much looking forward to reading this book as I always enjoy stepping outside my own circle of understanding and attempting to increase my breadth of intellect. I went into this story not having any prior knowledge of this disaster, and wanted to explore what this crisis could have sparked in the lives of those who endured it. It is also a paranormal, fantasy book, and I really looked forward to seeing how Pruitt married the historical content with these creative and inventive genres.

I appreciated the depth with which Donovan Pruitt explores within his text. Although it is very dense and at times could be found to be overwhelming, everything intermingles in a very nice way once you are able to comprehend everything at once. It is rich in historical facts as well as plot line. For those that do not like to look up information while reading a book to better understand it, this book may be one to veer away from, as this is something I had to do quite regularly to finish the work.

From this book, I believe that Pruitt is a very intellectual man, and carries that over into his writing. While it is wonderful to be stimulated while exposing yourself to this type of book, it is not always wonderful to have to work for your entertainment. I myself am one who likes to earn her way while reading at times, but this book was a large and at times laborious task to endure. It felt more like a homework assignment from a college professor than it did a leisurely read that also took the time and care to inform a new subset of people about a time that they did not previously know about.  Because of this, the fanciful and paranormal elements of the book were quite overshadowed instead of melded together.

Once you are able to get past the historical content, the fictional plot that lives within it is very good. I believe that if this book would have stripped away some of the historical facts and focused on this plot more carefully, the book would shine much brighter. The characters were ones that you wanted to see succeed, and over the course of the character arch you began to relate to them, even in their time of turmoil. It is a great feat to be able to take characters that are going through events that are so extreme, and make the relatable to the average reader. It also contained some very fresh takes on the popular fantasy and paranormal genre that would be heralded if one did not have to look so far to find them. This is something I feel Pruitt exceled in, and would do well to hone this talent for his future works.

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars. There were elements about this book that I really enjoyed, and some that were lost to me given the amount I had to take in at one time. This book is only 125 pages, yet it contained enough information to fill a large volume. It is my thought that Pruitt wanted to be educate and entertain his readers, and he did too well of a job for some people to understand. If the book were just a historical account or just a fictional retelling with fantasy and paranormal elements, I think it would be more consumer friendly, but having both intertwined within such a short work. However, there were elements that I enjoyed greatly, such as the creativity found within the plot line. This component really stood out to me, and it is what I appreciated the most.

Donovan Pruitt has a passion for science fiction and fantasy, especially those titles that trend toward young and new adult storytelling. Cityof 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.

My Amazon book reviews are available here:

Website | Goodreads | Twitter