Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves
Release Date: March 28, 2017
*ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley for an honest review – thanks so much to the publisher!!*
So, this was one of the very first books I requested when I first joined Netgalley. I was so pumped for it. Beautiful cover, mention of folklore, and magical powers? Sign me up! But after a while, there was nothing – not a single peep from the Netgalley peeps, so I preordered it because Eves had an epic preorder swag going on. The moment I got my swag? I was approved. 😄 I think Netgalley was mocking me a bit, but I’ll forgive it. However, I really can’t wait to see this beautiful book in person to go with the swag, even though I had a few problems with it!
Once Upon a Time…
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.
I had such a weird time with this book. There were a lot of parts I enjoyed, but there were a lot of parts I wasn’t as crazy about and I think that all stems from the pace. Let’s go over what I enjoyed first because I always believe in sharing the happy stuff first.
I really like the setting that Eves created. From the Victorian England to the journey to Hungary to the haunting Hungary itself. It’s a land filled with folklore, and I think Eves did such an amazing job of describing each place we went. She really has a knack for making me feel transported into these places, and I loved the journey she took us on in them.
I also thought the storyline was interesting. Yes, there is lot of stories in YA now of “chosen” heroines with different magic, but I felt that Eves did a great job standing out. She created a complex but interesting magic system, and Anna’s powers were something that I haven’t seen pop up before in a YA magic novel. I thought it was so interesting that she had this power, and the whole Luminate and big spell (whose name I can’t remember now but it was something fancy and catchy) was such an interesting concept and addition to the novel. I definitely have to applaud Eves on the creativity.
I also liked the addition of folklore. I wish there had been a little bit more, but I still felt that there was a good amount and that the amount that was in was great. I liked all of the creepy monster stories Anna’s cousins would tell, and it made the story felt richer because of it.
And also, this is totally not even connected to anything, but can I just say that I’m so happy to have finally seen a realistic escape from a bedroom window in YA? Seriously, I’ve been waiting yearsssss for this.
I liked the characters well enough, but I think this is the beginning of the big disconnect for me. I just felt super disconnected from this story, and I’m not really sure why. I thought the characters were good, but I never super loved any of them. They were all just kind of there, and while I got into them for a little bit, I never got into the ship, their struggles, or wanting to root for them like I usually do.
And as I said, I’m really not sure what created this disconnection. The plot would have interesting parts and kept moving along, but yet I still felt it was going too slow? I just wanted to skip to parts where something big would happen. I just didn’t feel excitement for anything – which I actually did in the beginning. Before Anna made it to Hungary, I was definitely super into the novel, and then something just switched and I felt the story dragged.
I’m not even sure if this review makes any sense, but I’m not entirely sure I can pinpoint anything that went “wrong” in a sense. I did like a good deal of the things in this book, but that disconnection where I didn’t feel anything just brought this book down for me. I’m not entirely sure where the problem was – with me, the novel, something else entirely, lol – but this story started off strong and then dragged for me. I still have my pre-order coming, but I don’t think I’ll be picking up the second novel in the series.
3 crowns and a Belle rating!
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What do you think? Have you read this yet? Let’s discuss in the comments below!