Synopsis (From GoodReads):
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 am so grateful for my habit of being early to book events! Last June, I was extremely early to the B'Fest event at Barnes & Noble, which garnered me the prize of being in Random House's "First In Line" program. Throughout the year, I have received wonderful book mail. Last week, I was sent The Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves. It was an entertaining start to a fantasy series, filled with worlds of magic, and intrigue.
What I Liked:Characters:
Anna, the main character, meets various people in the novel, who one might write off as minor players. As the book progresses, these characters are developed and we see there is more to them than meets the eye.
I particularly enjoyed the character of Grandmama, Anna's Hungarian grandmother. She is someone who always believes in Anna, even when her granddaughter does reckless things. I liked that Anna had at least one person who loved her unconditionally.
In fact, there are several people in the book who care for Anna. It takes most of the book for her to appreciate that people show their love in many ways.
The main premise of the book is that Anna's only magical ability is to break spells. All magic in Europe is in a reservoir called The Binding. I thought it was a great analogy to the very real divide between rich and poor in the world. Should magic be controlled by elites, or should it be available to whoever has magical abilities? Who gets to decide? In this book, an organization called The Circle, controls access to magic. But the winds of rebellion are stirring...
Throughout the novel, different people either want Anna to break The Binding or want to control Anna so she won't break it. When she does enter The Binding, Anna finds a world filled with both nightmare creatures and beings who would be helpful to people. Her guide in The Binding is Hunger, a presence who seems to show Anna only what she wants to see. Is he helping her, or using her to gain his freedom? Is The Circle as bad as the monsters of The Binding? This dilemma made this book a page-turner.
What I Didn't Like:Anna:
I did have some problems with the main character, Anna. I didn't feel she was as developed as she should be. While the people around her are interesting, they create all the action. She is passive (and easily manipulated) through most of the book, reacting to what happens, but not taking charge of the proceedings. I would have liked to see her stand up to everyone. She has a lot of power. Maybe in the next book, she will realize that.
Overall, I would recommend this book for the creative story Rosalyn Eves creates. She surrounds Anna with imaginative characters and a thought-provoking world of haves and have nots.
Release Date: March 28th, 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Random House "First In Line" program
Format: Paperback book
Recommendation: An entertaining, quick read that will get you thinking about real life issues.