Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on March 28th 2017
Format: ARC, egalley
Source: Publisher Provided
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I received this book/movie for free from the above-listed publisher/studio in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book/movie or the content of my review.
The thrilling first book in a YA fantasy trilogy for fans of Red Queen. In a world where social prestige derives from a trifecta of blood, money, and magic, one girl has the ability to break the spell that holds the social order in place.
Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.
Her life might well be over.
In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.
As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romanies, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.
What I loved most about Blood Rose Rebellion (outside of that stunning cover) was the magic system and the Hungarian inspired lore. This was something different in a genre where everything seems to be the same these days. I liked the idea of a magic reservoir. Any time that magic has a finite or a yin-yang quality it seems much more believable to me. The other thing I enjoyed most in reading this was how Rosalyn brought in 19th century Hungary’s history and blended it with a magic system. I swear, there were moments where I thought, wait, did this really happen?
Now this is one of those main-character-doesn’t-have-powers tropes, and I think that’s what made me a little weary as I read on. I’ve seen a lot of this before — even the inevitable revolution-against-the-ruling-magical-class idea. Somewhere in the midst of a cool magical system and the different mythology I mentioned above, I got a bit bored. Perhaps it’s the lack of tension (or stretching it out too much) in the plot that I tend to pick up on.
Don’t get me wrong, there are elements that will pull you into the story. You will keep reading to see what Anna is and how her lack of power fits into her world. Will she change things? Will the class system change? All these questions are there to be answered.
I think if you’re in the mood for a Victorian historical setting that’s different from the usual Western Europe (okay, the usual United Kingdom one), I would give this story a try. It has all the elements that historical romance readers love plus magic.