Source: Blogging For Books – I received this in exchange for an honest review.
Series: Blood Rose Rebellion #1
Edition: Hardcover, 416 Pages
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
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.
Blood Rose Rebellion is a not only a historical fantasy but a dystopian. It has a rather unique blend of elements, but ultimately while it does provide some new flavor to a rather saturated market it still felt somewhat recycled after a while.
Let’s start with the positives. I really dig the awesome mix of historical fiction with fantasy. I’m a big fan of period novels that have paranormal elements, it brings some new flavor to familiar territory. Plus it’s always fun to see how these societies deal with the magic and other oddities. I loved the political play and the rather ragtag nature of the rebellion itself. There are so many novels with a teenager lead armies for freedom, and it gets boring. Thankfully BRR casts a rebellion in a more realistic light and fills it will hasty planning and lofty ideals. The magic system is also rather interesting and really loved the parts centering around the Binding and everything that ties into it (avoiding spoilers here).
But that leads directly into the negatives. I feel that we didn’t get a lot of explanation about anything when it comes to the magic. Granted our main character is an outcast to the magical society, so a limited understanding is expected but so much was glossed over. some things that were merely mentioned, almost in passing, become important connects later on and the lack of focus really pulls away from the impact of the reveal. I really wanted to understand the different classes of magic users and their skill sets, but we only get explanations if something is directly used in front of Anna. Which brings me to Anna herself. I kind of hate her. She’s not a bad person and she doesn’t really insight any anger, but I found her frustrating. Anna acts like a teenager placed in an odd position. She doesn’t completely grasp the impact of most situations, she doesn’t think things through, and she changes her mind…a lot. She’s a teen, it fits the bill…but damn does it get annoying after awhile. I do understand her indecision, as being an outcast with a sudden amount of power could cow most people but it just didn’t make for a fun reading experience. Though we get a full story it felt like it was a book that was spending its time spinning its wheels leaving me feeling like not a lot was happening.
Overall I’m not overly impressed with this one. It wasn’t a bad read by any means and I definitely see people enjoying it, but this just isn’t one that gripped me or made me want to continue the series.