*I recieved an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not in any way affect my opinion, and all thoughts expressed in this review are unbiased and my own.*
Author: Rosalyn Eves
My rating: 2.5 hearts
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical
Pub. date: March 28th 2017
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
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. (synopsis from Goodreads)
I had really high expectations of this book. It sounds amazing, and I really thought the idea behind it sounded awesome. And, yeah, the plot is original and could’ve been really great, but the execution was lacking on several points. The plot was really slow and I just couldn’t bring myself to care about the characters. The protagonist, Anna, really annoyed me in the beginning, but she did grow through the book.
I have mixed feelings about Anna.
In the beginning, she was way too spoiled and judgmental for my taste. And, okay, I get that the change from England to Hungary is a pretty big change, especially in the nineteenth century, but she was just so judging to everyone in Eszterházy. She was also really scared and indecisive. When she had to make a decision, she just drew it out as long as possible, and it really bothered me. The good thing was that she grew through the book, and by the end of it, she stopped letting her fear rule her decisions.
I didn’t really care about the rest of the characters.
The other characters are good enough, I guess, but I just didn’t care about them. I’m not even sure what the problem was, but I just didn’t care, which was another thing that made it difficult to get through.
The plot was really slow.
The idea behind the plot was great, I liked that it took place in Hungary and I liked the mythology and all of that, but it was way too slow. It wasn’t until I was halfway through the book that something interesting started happening, and I struggled with getting through the first half of the book.
The writing wasn’t convincing.
I just felt it wasn’t completely right for the time period. I felt like the author really tried to capture the right mood and the right language for the 1800s, but it really just felt stilted and awkward.
The ending was okay.
I liked the ending. It made sense, and although it wasn’t that surprising, it was good enough. With that ending, it could’ve worked as a stand-alone. To be honest, I’m not sure if I will read the sequel.
What brings my rating up a little is that the second half was better, Anna grew up and things started happening, and the mythology. Basically, I might recommend Rose Blood Rebellion if you don’t mind slow pacing. If you’re looking for a lot of action and fast pacing, this might not be the book for you.