Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves
Series: Blood Rose Rebellion #1
Rating: 2.5 stars
Published: March 28th 2017
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.
This book is typical of what has been seen again and again by others in the YA fantasy genre. There are some new elements here, but honestly, it's mostly the same old material that's just changed setting and character names.
The special snowflake, Anna Arden. She's part of the magical society in England (and the rest of Europe) known as the Luminates. However, she's the outcast of the family for being the only one who can't use magic. The kicker is, at her sister's coming out ball, it is revealed that she is not a wielder of magic, but a breaker of spells, instead. So she's whisked away to Hungary with her grandma until the commotion about her lack of magic dies down in England.
There's a whole bunch of stuff that happens, but it turns out... Surprise, surprise, there's a social class conflict between the magical elite nobility, and the magic-deprived common folk. This is also intertwined with the Hapsburg Austrian/Hungarian conflict of 1847-48, and that makes it cool, but there's so much on this plate that isn't actually appeasing or isn't fully explained. Like if there was a buffet full of food but it wasn't cooked right. It leaves you wanting more.
I read Gilded Cage by Vic James last month, and it annoyed the hell out of me. I've read Red Queen. Yes, all have conflicts between two groups of people, all have magic, and it's getting all so tiresome.
It doesn't help that Anna Arden isn't exactly a likable heroine. She falls for every guy she meets. Even when she says she only likes her cousin as a brother, she goes and kisses him?! What?
There weren't enough words. I wanted to thank him and apologize in the same breath. I wanted to tell him I was horrified and sad and angry and honored all at once to be here with him. I wanted to tell him I loved him like a brother, but those were not the words he wanted to hear, and I could not lie to him. Not here, not now. And Hunger was listening.
So I left the words unsaid and leaned forward, closing the space between us. I kissed him. Into that kiss I put all my gratitude and love and the beginnings of grief pushing at the back of my throat. His lips moved against mine, our breath mingling for one splendid, wrenching moment.
Just. No more, please.
The real kicker is the writing. Purple-prose and flowers galore. It might have suited me when I was 14 and swooning over guys, but it's been many years since I was like that. Was I even like that?
Here is an example of a kiss being described like tea.
Then he set his lips to mine, and the warmth of that kiss spread through my body like the balmy comfort of tea. Against all the darkness and death and turmoil of the last few days, his kiss was everything light, everything good. His kiss was life, spring up around me. His kiss was hope, radiating out from this still, perfect center of a new world.
I drank him in.
Back on the not likable heroine part - she makes really dumb decisions. I'm talking really dumb.
How could I not have seen that my very presence endangered everything, everyone I cared for? I believed I was clever, invincible, important.
Honestly, I can see people liking this book, but I can't. The genre itself is wearing me out, so maybe I'll try something new.