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Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher provided through Edelweiss
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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.I'm kind of two minds about Blood Rose Rebellion. In some ways, I really enjoyed the world Eves created, where the aristocracy partially maintains their power because of their magical abilities, and liked seeing Anna come to understand the world around her. At the same time, though, I was frustrated with Anna a lot of the time, I've seen reviews that mention inaccuracies--though that's obviously not something I can speak on personally--and there were things that just didn't feel right.
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.
First, the good. The setting is just the kind of thing I love! Not only do we start in London, but Anna visits Hungary with her grandmother, a country we don't see a lot of in YA, and it makes for a different feel, and a culture that's enjoyable to learn more about. There's also a lot that's interesting about the magic of the world, with a lot of questions to be answered later on after the events of this book. I'll be curious to see the repercussions to come in the next book. I like when folklore and fairy tales come into play in a world with magic, so all the creatures from the Binding were one of my favorite parts.
On the other hand, Anna is more than a little bit frustrating. I found her to be naive and too changeable. She didn't commit to her decisions, and she's very self-centered, unable to see how her actions will affect others until she's faced with the consequences. And while I liked the eventual romance, it weirds me out that Anna kissed at least three guys in this book. Two seems sufficient, doesn't it?
Even so, enough interesting background was set up that I'm curious for what's to come. I have hope that Anna can grow from what she's experienced, and, hey, maybe she'll only kiss one guy! So, perhaps while I can't recommend it without reservation, Blood Rose Rebellion is an interesting read and a series I will continue.
Rosalyn Eves grew up in the Rocky Mountains, dividing her time between reading books and bossing her siblings into performing her dramatic scripts. As an adult, the telling and reading of stories is still one of her favorite things to do. When she's not reading or writing, she enjoys spending time with her chemistry professor husband and three children, watching British period pieces, or hiking through the splendid landscape of southern Utah, where she lives. She dislikes housework on principle. Her first book, BLOOD ROSE REBELLION, comes out Spring 2017 from Knopf.