A Girl Who Can Break Magic: Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

A Girl Who Can Break Magic: Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn EvesBlood Rose Rebellion (Blood Rose Rebellion, #1)
by Rosalyn Eves
Release Date: March 28th 2017
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance, YA
Format: eARC
Pages: 416
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Source: ARC received for review purposes

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.

ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Blood Rose Rebellion was a book I was eagerly looking forward to reading because of the historical elements to the story. It’s been such a long time since I’ve read a YA historical book, so this was right up my alley. I had my moments of ups and downs while reading Blood Rose Rebellion, and ultimately, this is a series myself becoming invested in as it progresses.

The Ups

  • The historical setting
    I thought the setting was fantastic, and I was especially intrigued by the story because it features historical Hungary, not a country that you normally see in YA. It was refreshing and I enjoyed getting to know the culture and lifestyle of the world that Eves has created. It was obvious from the amount of details in the book that she has taken the time to research her material well to create a solid world in Blood Rose Rebellion.
  • The magical and political systems
    I love anything to do with magic in books, and while pretty straightforward and simple, I enjoyed here as well. It explores the dynamics between the wealthy and the poor, with the wealthy controlling the magic, and thus most of society. I know it’s a theme that’s fresh by any means, but it’s a topic I always like reading about in books. Here, especially, I liked how parts of the wealthy society actually wanted to bring equality and allowing everyone to be able to use their magic.
  • The main character
    I initially had mixed feelings about Anna, but I grew to really like her. Even though she’s born to a wealthy family, she is Barren, without magic, only to later discover that she is special in that she can break spells. She had her moments where she made some upsetting and frankly, illogical decisions, but I thought that she became more likeable as the story went on. It was easy for me to forgive her naivety because she was a teenager who was being bombarded from all sides about what she should do about her magic, without much knowledge. By the end of the book, she had become a stronger character and I’m looking forward to being reunited with her in the next installment.

The Downs

  • The pacing
    Blood Rose Rebellion started off with a bang and there were lots of great moments peppered throughout the book. All that being said, the book was very dense and slow at times, which sometimes made me lose focus from the story. I really do think that some scenes could have been cut down and shortened, so as to make for a faster-paced and more intense storytelling.
  • The romance
    In all honesty, I didn’t particularly care for the romance between Anna and the Romani, Gabor. I think I would have enjoyed it more had Anna not been kissing or shown interest in other guys in the book. I also felt like she latched on to him fairly quickly, and I would have liked to see a bit more of a slow-burn romance. With the forbidden aspects of the romance, they could have been such a ship-worthy couple, but unfortunately they felt a bit flat for me.

So all that being said, I do see a lot of potential in this series and I’m hoping that the author will execute her ideas better in the next installment. Overall, Blood Rose Rebellion was a good debut and intro to a series. I’m looking forward to catching up with Anna and the gang in the next book.

What are some of your favorite historical YA books?
Let me know in the comments below!

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  • kindlemom1

    It really is hard to love a book if you don’t believe or like the romance aspect. Hopefully the other books in the series will get better and better.

    • Yeah, especially for me someone who reads mostly for the romance!

  • Sorry to hear the pacing was a little off! I hate when books start off super exciting and then promptly go downhill because they had me super excited and ultimately disappoint! Great review nonetheless Nick!

    xx Anisha @ Sprinkled Pages

    • I know, it’s always a bummer when that happens.

  • I’ve been hearing mostly positive things about this book so when I come across it I might still pick it up. However, Historical Fiction isn’t really my thing? Even though one of my favorites of the year so far is in that genre. That would be The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue by Mackenzi Lee.

    • Oh I’m so excited to read Gentleman! It sounds like so much fun. I mean if you find it at the library, I say go for it, give it a try. But don’t buy it.

  • It is always such a shame when the author does an excellent job with the world and the politics and clearly has done a lot of research, but then other elements don’t measure up. Glad to hear the heroine is likeable, though! (And most sad to hear about the romance.) I’ve been looking forward to this release and this review just made me all the more excited!

    • I know. I find those books the hardest to review too. I hope you enjoy reading it!

  • I’ve been pretty slow with reading this, but I think you and I share the same thoughts. I was actually pretty surprised by how much magic (read: magical creatures) was in this. The romance is meh for me as well. I like Gabor’s wariness of Anna at first, but he let his guard down too quickly.

    • I liked the magical elements part. I think a lot of readers feel similarly about the romance. It sucks because it had potential!

  • Pretty agreed with your thoughts on this one, Nick. The world was great – especially when they brought in the mystical creatures – but the overall pace was ohhhh soooooo slowwwww. It was really only the last third of the book when I actually got into this one. And I feel the same with the romance! I just thought it was a bit… superficial to an extent? Idk, I just couldn’t get onboard with it, as much as I would have liked. I’m still picking up the sequel though, lol!

    – Aila @ Happy Indulgence

    • Yeah, a lot of that beginning could have been chopped off. I agree. I wasn’t on board of that romance either. I was hoping for more intensity and chemistry.

  • Sigh…. I am curious there are definitely some things to like, but I worry about the pace and the romance, I am struggling so much with YA right now, I think I will wait for the next book and decide.

    • I think you should wait too, Heidi. This isn’t one you should rush to read if you’re struggling with YA.

  • Great review, Nick. I must admit that I’m very intrigued by the setting of the book – like you said, Hungary isn’t really a place you see in historical YA – or any YA at all, actually. Sorry that you didn’t fully connect with the romance, and that the pacing fell flat; it’s a shame when books start off really wonderfully and then fall apart in terms of pacing. That’s how I felt about Rebel of the Sands. I really loved the beginning 25%, but after that, it kinda fell flat.

    I’m a sucker for The Wrath & the Dawn though. I also recently read Homegoing which I thought was a fantastic historical fiction. 😁

    • Oh man Rebel of the Sands. I felt exactly the same way. It started off so strongly and then ehhhhhhh it was a snooze fest. I haven’t picked up the sequel yet either and don’t think I’m going to. I’m going to check out Homegoing! Thanks for mentioning it.

  • You know I’ve been really struggling with YA lately. They just aren’t grabbing my attention. I think I would have similar issues with this book. But I am glad that overall it was a pleasant read.

    • Thanks, Quinn. This is definitely not one you should bother with if you’re already iffy with YA lately.

  • Its shame when a book starts with a bang but then goes downhill. Yet it does sound like there was a lot to like about this book, however pacing is a big thing for me. As is romance, however I still think I will give this one a try. The premise sounds really intriguing.

    • Yeah it was overall an okay read, but I just wasn’t as impressed. I hope you like it!

  • You know my weakness for historical fantasy, so I’m tempted by this one…but admittedly I think the second half of this one sounds a bit iffy. A rushed romance or one that feels kinda “meh” in a historical fantasy is just unforgivable imo, since the social constraints of the setting practically deliver romantic tension on a platter!

    • I honestly don’t see you enjoying this one very much, Danya. I think there are better HF out there. And right??? Most of what I’ve read has had pretty great romantic tension. Have you read the Lovegrove Legacy by Alyxandra Harvey? Oh my gosh, the romance and chemistry in that series! PHEW!

  • GAH I am a sucker for historical settings for sure! I am glad that it wasn’t *bad*. But dense and slow with a not-so-great romance are tough. But the MC being good helps. So torn about this one. I generally love any historical YA by Cat Winters for sure. Walk on Earth a Stranger is a definite fave! Great review, Nick!

    • I LOVE Walk on Earth. Yeah this is nowhere near as good as that one. I say give it a shot if you have a copy.

  • I’m not really sure why, but the cover bothers me. A lot. Hmm it sounds interesting, but think I’ve wait to see how the next book goes first.

    • Same. Something about the cover is so ehh for me.

  • Jessica @ a GREAT read

    Nice! I just won a copy of this one! I was intrigued by the storyline but also fest hesitant! Not sure if I will be able to get to it before its release but I do plan on reading it hopefully soon! Nice review!

    • I hope you enjoy it, Jessica!

  • Love the sound of the magic and politics. Too bad about the romance Nick

    • Yeah, the romance could have been better. 🙁

  • oh historical YA sounds very intriguing. The only ones that I have read are the series that Avon did years ago “Avon True Romance” featured a group of authors writing HR romance for teens. They are fantastic.

    • What is this Avon True Romance? That sounds fantastic and I need to know more!

      • oh you so need to know about this since I think you would love this series. Years ago, Avon working with other authors such as Lorraine Heath, Karen Hawkins, Meg Cabot and Beverly Jenkins and some others wrote a series I think 12 books. All romances but more for a teen audience, all historical romance with various themes. They are witty, fun plot lines and sweet romances. You would really love them and they are short so very quick reads. But this series is what got me hooked on romance in the first place. So I have such a soft spot for these books. Here is a link to the series on GR: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/17258.Avon_True_Romances

  • eak is the romance more of an instalove? that is making my skin crawl. This is too bad, I still think I want to read it but don’t feel as excited anymore ;/

    • Kind of? I just never felt their connection. Yeah certainly give it a shot if you’re interested.

  • I hate when a book is disappointing, when it has the potential to be good but certain things end up making it fall flat. I judge a book kind of harshly when I don’t like the romance (I know, it’s mean of me) but yeah, the sound of the romance and the poor pacing puts me off. I suppose the series has the potential to get bette rbut I might skip it until it’s finished and see people’s thoughts.

    • I know. I felt like this could have been a really good historical fantasy had the romance been better executed. Oh well. Hopefully, the next will be better.

  • Uuggggggghhhhh. I have no interest in this book anymore. Is it bad if I just give up and NOT read it? I rarely do this with review books (like 100% *never* do), but I’m not feeling this one. I think I’ll leave it at this point, especially since it’s part of a trilogy. I’ve seen some really lackluster opinions of the book (a lot of friends have also felt similarly). The romance is what kind of sealed the deal for me – so she goes around kissing everyone? I’ve heard that from a few others so I know it’s no exaggeration… yeah, I’m good. Even the historical setting and the political mechanisms can’t get me hyped about the book, at this point. I think I’ll just not read it. 😀 Typing that makes me feel better.

    Sorry, that wasn’t much of a comment in terms of your review, but more of a frustrated rant… the rant space is appreciated! Thank you for helping me convince myself that it’s okay if I don’t read this one. 😉

    Wonderful review, Nick! Have a fantastic week. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • I don’t see why you should force yourself to read a book you don’t want to. I’ve noticed that it hasn’t been getting a lot of praise, which is understandable. Yeah, she kisses several guys in the book.
      Thanks, Alyssa!