Series: Blood Rose Rebellion #1
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Historical Fiction
Page Length: 416 pages
Format: ARC (received from Penguin/First In Line, still reaping the benefits from my B-Fest trivia win over the summer)
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
About Blood Rose Rebellion (via Goodreads):
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.
DNF'd @ 28%
I believe this is a book that other people may enjoy, but it just wasn't right for me. I did like several elements of the novel, but there were also several issues that I could not get out of my head.
First, I want to briefly talk about the positives. I absolutely loved how Eves weaved the story and her magical system around historical Europe, and how she included so many different cultural aspects. Her writing flowed gracefully, and in general, things were masterfully created.
However, there was so much info-dumping in the first few chapters (and even beyond that). The information that was given could have definitely been more evenly distributed as the events of the novel unfolded. Especially because when there is a lot of explaining all at once, it is too easy to get swept up by it all and lose track of everything that was just dumped on the reader. I know I felt that way about the magic system and the world at first, and even as I continued reading because there was just too much for me to remember.
In addition, the pacing seemed really skewed to me. In the beginning, there seemed to be so much going on, yet it quickly became stagnant with very little plot progression at all. The pacing also negatively impacted my opinions of the characters. At the beginning, I could not develop any true feelings (much less positive ones) about any of the characters presented to me, including Anna, the protagonist. Almost immediately, the characters came across as snobbish and seem like massive, selfish jerks (other than their amazing Grandmama). I could barely sympathize with anyone.
Furthermore, although the setting and historical aspects were a nice change, most of the other aspects of the book were pretty trope-y and filled with cliches. There was the whole, almost reverse-chosen one thing going on where the girl with no powers in a world of super-humans somehow manages to overthrow society and change the world, and so much more that just seemed a repetition of the popular books before it.