Thursday, March 30, 2017

ARC Review: Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

Title: Blood Rose Rebellion
Series: Blood Rose Rebellion #1
Written by: Rosalyn Eves
Published: March 28, 2017 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random House)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: 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.

**** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ****

Blood Rose Rebellion sounds like a book that is totally up my alley. A historical fantasy set in Victorian England with political intrigue, magic, and monsters. And while there were some really great things about it, I didn't quite love it.

The one thing that I did love about this book was the world of the book. The author did an amazing job of establishing a world and a setting that was rooted in history and expanded with fantasy elements. As far as the magic goes I really enjoyed it. It was an interesting combination of elemental magic and magical creatures and folklore. Eves did a great job of establishing an atmosphere or magic and mystery but didn't overwhelm you with information about the magic. The world-building is also really fantastic as we learn more about the magic as the book goes on and I loved seeing it in action and learning all about it. The world was definitely a high point.

The other great thing about the world was the historical elements and the political intrigue. As far as the history of the book goes it was the root of a lot of the political intrigue. The book takes place in London and the Austo-Hungarian Empire during a period of nationalism and revolutions around Europe including in Budapest where such of the book takes place. There were real characters and events sprinkled in with fictional elements. That's how I like my historical fiction. But the political intrigue also involved the magic as well. I feel like this is one of those books that does the overbearing society maintaining control by oppressing people they deem inferior. This of course makes the the revolution angle all the more enjoyable. Seriously, when the revolution aspects kicked in I was totally hooked because of how good the political elements were.

Unfortunately it took awhile to get to that part of the story. The pacing is on the slow side for sure and on top of that it had a lot of falling action for me. It was one of those books that slowly built to an exciting conclusion, which I liked, but it sure took it's sweet time to get there. There were some great action scenes and a lot of mystery which I enjoyed. Plus it had a clear ending even though it was the start of a new trilogy, which I appreciated. However, while many aspects of the plot were enjoyable for me I thought there was just a lot of emphasis placed on the romance and I seriously hated the romance. It tried really hard to be a slowburn but it was either two slow or maybe not slow enough. I just didn't buy it. I really wanted less romance and more magic and revolution.

And unfortunately I felt similar about the characters of this book. I am usually someone who is more of a plot driven reader that doesn't care much about characters but here I felt like the character development was missing. I felt like even though the characters were interesting and that there was plenty of opportunities for character development it didn't quite get there. This could have been a really good coming-of-age elements as the character figured here place in the The main character was fine, I liked that she was interested in equality and fought for what she believed in but she felt reckless and defiant in a bad way. I never got the impression she was doing things for an reason other that to be obstinate. In the end she did take the time to see things differently and I liked the way it all concluded but I never really connected with her. I honesty just think it was the romance. I didn't like the male lead and I didn't like that she made decisions based on her feeling towards him. I think in general the characters just didn't just off the page for me.

On the whole Blood Rose Rebellion was an interesting story with a fascinating historical fantasy world but I didn't quite love it. The characters didn't work for me and the pacing was a bit slow. I am interested to see where the series goes. I think it laid the groundwork for some interesting developments and there is more to explore but as it stands now, I didn't love it as I was expecting.

I give Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves 7.5 out of 10 stars.

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. This is an okay historical fantasy debut. I wasn't totally blown away but it definitely has some good atmosphere and an interesting plot. I did notice that the audiobook is narrated by Fiona Hardingham so I'd like to check that out. It may be worth it to pick it up on audio.


  1. Awww I was looking forward to this one but the slow pacing and emphasis and romance has me thinking I'll put this off for now. Thanks for sharing Cassi!

    1. Yeah, I was looking forward to it too. It was okay, just nothing special.