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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.
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.
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 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 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.