31 October, 2017

[Review] Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

Series: Blood Rose Rebellion #1
Release Date: 28 March, 2017
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Alternative History
ISBN:  9781101935996
Edition: Ebook
Rating: ☆☆
Review Written: 18 September, 2017 
Summary: 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. 

For more information, please check out the Penguin House Publishing's website.

The charming tale of Anna Arden starts with a large amount of betrayal of trust and scandal. Anna, sixteen and barren of magic in a society that revolves around magic and money, wants nothing more than to fit into Luminate society. A bit jealous of her elder sister Katherine and her ability to cast spells, Anna’s taken refuge in the fact that she’s favored by Lord Frederick Markson Worthing (Freddy) instead of her sister. Still, she’s been forbidden from attending Katherine’s debutante party as magic tends to go awry around her. Angry and bitter, Anna meets with Freddy in the garden and ends up attending anyways. It’s during the spell-casting that she sees her sister weaving an illustrious spell of Sleeping Beauty featuring Freddy as the prince. Furious, Anna’s “curse” breaks the spell and inevitably stains her reputation as the members of the Circle investigate and discover her path back to the garden with Freddy. 

When Freddy refuses to marry either of the Arden daughters, Anna’s mother decides that the ‘safest’ course of action is to send Anna away to Hungary with her grandmother. This frustrates Anna more as she feels it will be sealing her fate to live on the edges of Luminate society, but what’s been done has to blow over before Anna can really return home. It’s in Hungary that Anna learns about a different source of magic, Romani magic, that comes from being connected to the world around her. Though she cannot truly use it for herself, she smuggles a talisman and instructions to her younger brother James, in hopes that it might improve his time at a Luminate run school. Anna’s Hungarian cousins are also a strange lot with Noémi acting as a servant in the family’s crumbling country estate and her brother, Mátyás who gambles far too much and eventually leads Anna into a budding rebellion.

Anna’s interactions with the Romani becomes a main focus in the book, along with her blossoming feelings for Gábor. She doesn’t quite seem to grasp the consequences of falling for a Romani man, especially one whose family she accidentally betrays by sending her letters full of information to her brother. After Anna is drawn into the growing rebellion in the twin cities of Buda-Pest, she’s contacted once by her father on attempting to break a curse at Sárvár with the help of Lady Berri, the leader of the Lucifera order in the British Empire. Anna, of course, runs off and ends up breaking the curse herself while meeting the monster Hunger. He reveals that there are many things being held back by the Binding, the spell that supposedly empowers all the Luminates and separates the higher society from the commoners. Anna becomes conflicted with what he charges her to do, break the binding and set the monsters free. She’ll upset the order of the world she knows, but she might be able to save those she loves.

Outside of this, Anna’s been followed by Herr Steinberg, a member of the Austrian Circle who controls the Austro-Hungarian empire at the time. He ends up placing a ring on her finger after Anna attempts to break the Binding spell once with Lady Berri’s help, locking Anna’s “magic” of spell-breaking and tracking her every movement. Unbeknownst to her, he’s also spelled it so that he can hear her conversations as well. It’s by this ring and spell that the Circle discovers the Romanis and rounds them up in Buda-Pest to strip them of their magic and their voices. Distressed by her role in this event, Anna decides to finally truly try and break the Binding and try to remove some power from the Luminate elite. 

The tale’s ending is bittersweet, leaving readers wanting more of what will become of Anna as she returns to England with the knowledge of exactly what she is. Though I truly enjoyed the book, a few parts of the story felt repetitive and dragged out, lowering my original assessment of 4 stars down to 3.5. Still, I’ll probably grab book two when it comes out.

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