Saturday, March 25, 2017

blood rose rebellion: stardust arc reviews

Blood Rose Rebellion (Blood Rose Rebellion #1)
by Rosalyn Eves

release date: March 28 by Knopf



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.

full review under the cut! 

 I'd like to say thanks to Knopf for letting me read a copy of this book on Netgalley! Basically, ever since I heard about this one, I was super interested in it. Historical Fiction is sometimes kind of hit or miss for me, but whenever I heard about a book that takes place in a time period that I don't know much about, I get intrigued. This book takes place in 1840's Hungary, and blends together historically accurate elements with high fantasy ones. I enjoyed this book a lot, there were tons of things in it that really intrigued me, but there were also a couple of aspects that kept bringing it down, and so I settled on a solid 3.5 star rating. If you're super interested in this time period, or if you love books that blend actual history and high fantasy, then I think you would definitely enjoy this one!

The thing that I really loved in this one, and the thing I think is most important in new high fantasy worlds, was the setting and the world building. Anna, our main character, starts out the story in London and is soon exiled to Hungary, so there is a chance to get a little bit of perspective from Europeans living in different places during this time period. I found myself getting a little frustrated because there were tons of words that I didn't know while Anna was in Hungary, but there is a helpful glossary in the back, which I wish I had known about while reading! Anyways, I liked getting a glimpse into what Hungary looked like during this time period, even if there is the added bit of magic in there too. If you didn't know, there was an actual real rebellion in 1848 in Hungary, so this book is definitely playing off of that a little bit, as well as the Austo Hungarian war that took place in the 15th century. I also really liked how Eves added to the already interesting historical context with her portrayal of magic and the high fantasy elements. Anna belongs to the upper class in Europe, a group that can wield magic, called the Luminate. When a member of this class is young, they go through a ceremony called the Binding, where their powers are revealed and they start working towards becoming a full member of this magical class of people. There are four persuasions of magic, consisting of manipulation of living bodies, manipulation of the mind and heart, manipulation of nonliving substances, and manipulation of forces like time or gravity. When Anna was young, her binding didn't work, causing everyone to label her as Barren and cementing her status as a pariah in the world that she is supposed to belong in. When her sister goes to her Binding, Anna accidentally messes the whole thing up, which gets her sent from London to Hungary, where she is exposed to a completely different life.

I loved the world that this book took place in, but I do understand why some people felt that the plot suffered a bit at first. It was a bit of a slow start. The very beginning was exciting, but then it took awhile to get everything set up for the real action to start rolling. I personally didn't have a problem with this, I think that with any first book in a high fantasy series, there has to be a certain time when things are established, or else the next books get confusing. So I appreciated the care with which Eves set up her world. The action really picked up when Anna got to Hungary and came into contact with the rebellion from the title, so from then on I felt like there was never a dull moment with the action.

The thing that pulled this book down from a four star review, for me, was a lack of connection that I felt with the characters, starting with Anna. I feel like, in a high fantasy, there is a two fold process that allows me to really connect with the story and love the book. The first is a really awesome and well-set up world, which Blood Rose Rebellion definitely has, and the second is characters that I would be willing to hang out with, follow into battle, etc etc. I felt like this one kind of missed the mark on that, and that's why I wasn't 100% obsessed with it. Anna was a little bit annoying to me. I felt like I could kind of understand where she was coming from as someone who has been shunned for something that she can't help, but at the same time I was like just GIRL. STOP. It felt a little bit like she was so starved for attention that she didn't care where it was coming from. And let me be clear, I have nothing against unlikable heroines. I think stories with unlikable heroines can be super interesting and amazing, but with an unlikable heroine, there still has to be an element of me understanding where she's coming from and seeing the reasonable progression of her actions, not being embarrassed and confused over why she's acting the way she is. Anna just did dumb things and I was annoyed, so that is how the book progressed for me. Also, while I liked the secondary characters like Mátyás, Noémi, and Gábor, I didn't feel as deep of a connection to them as I wanted to. 

I don't want to say too much more about the plot because I found myself pleasantly surprised a bunch of times towards the end and don't want to ruin anything, but I do want to say that I definitely do think that this book is worth a read if it is something that you are interested in. You might find the characters more relatable than I did, and if that is the case, you may end up with a four or five star read on your hands. I personally enjoyed the story, and will definitely read the second one :) 


No comments:

Post a Comment

80% Read the Printed Word!