Review: Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

Monday, June 5, 2017

Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves
Blood Rose Rebellion #1
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 28th, 2017
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Source: Netgalley
Format: eARC
Pages: 416

Summary (from Goodreads):

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 h
er 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 eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

After causing a bit of a scandal during her sister's debutante spell and her parents being unable to marry her off, Anna Arden gets shipped off to Hungary with her grandmother until people have forgotten about the drama she caused.

Anna is our heroine. She was born to a Luminate family, but she herself is Barren, meaning she doesn't have any magic. However, she inexplicably has the ability to break spells as they are being cast. I liked Anna. In the beginning, I wasn't entirely sure how I was going to feel about her. It seemed like she wasn't going to be a character that I was going to like. I can't really pinpoint a real reason as to why I felt that way, I just did.

However, I had nothing to worry about because I ended up liking her just fine. After a group of rebels found out about her ability to break spells, she was asked to consider breaking the Binding, a spell that the Circle created to regulate the use of magic and only allow Luminates to use it. Which is basically the plot of this story. The rebels want her to join their cause.

I don't really know why this stuck out to me so much, and has stuck out to me more as I have thought about this book after finishing, but I really appreciated how much Anna weighed the pros and cons of her actions before coming to a definite decision. Breaking the Binding is a huge action that is likely to change her entire society as she knows it. There are a lot of good reasons to break it and plenty of good ones not to break it. Unlike a lot of books where it feels like the heroine makes more hasty decisions about such huge things, a lot of this book kind of felt dedicated to her trying to decide what to do. She would make a decision, get new information, and reassess the situation. It feels like such a little thing, but I really appreciated it because it felt so real to me. I just really appreciated how it was handled.

In Hungary, Anna lives with her cousins, Matyas and Noemi, her grandmother, and her uncle, Janos. I liked her family. Her grandmother seems so sweet and is so excited to have Anna with her in her home country that she loves so much. Her uncle isn't a huge character, but her cousins are kind of important. I liked them both.

In the beginning, Noemi and Anna get off on the wrong foot. Anna really offends Noemi, so they don't become fast friends. It takes awhile for them to warm up to each other, but I liked the relationship that they had after they started to like each other.

Matyas and Anna have a bit of a different wrong start. Shortly after meeting Anna, there is a bit of an uncomfortable scene where Matyas kisses her. They're cousins! And that just feels wrong and weird. However, it doesn't stop them from becoming close. Matyas often has to accompany Anna when she goes out from the estate in Hungary for propriety. I really ended up liking Matyas. He seemed like a fun guy.

The romance in this story is kind of a hit-or-miss for me. After arriving in Hungary, Anna stumbles across a group of Romani people and meets Gabor. He doesn't like Anna at first, but they keep running into each other and start to develop feelings for each other.

I liked Gabor, but I don't feel like he was really developed that much? The whole romance felt kind of like an afterthought that was just thrown in because generally YA has romance. It felt just so meh and really he only felt like he was at all present in this book because he just got caught up with this family and their drama. He doesn't want Anna to break the Binding, he doesn't really want anything to do with this rebellion, I don't think. He just got roped into all this basically by association. He doesn't participate a lot in this rebellion. He just feels like he's there to kiss Anna and cause some romantic angst or something.

I really liked that this book was set in Hungary. It was a very nice change from the beginning where it's set in England. I loved the culture and picture you get of Hungary. I want more books set in fun countries like that. I really liked how much Anna grew to love Hungary.

Overall, I liked this book. I was kinda meh about it in the beginning, but it definitely got better once Anna ended up in Hungary. It still wasn't amazing, but there was a moment in the end of this book that made me sob for some reason and it definitely redeemed the book for me. I don't know, I usually feel a lot more strongly about a book once it makes me really feel something like that. Before that moment, this book was probably more of a solid 3 for me.

I want to say that I would recommend this book, but I think it's only because I personally liked it. I don't feel like I have a real reason as to why I would recommend it. If it weren't for the sad scene at the end, I definitely would have liked it less. If you're unsure about picking this book up, I feel like you should either wait to see if people like the second book better (because right now on Goodreads, I'm seeing overwhelmingly more negative reviews) or just skip it altogether. If you're looking forward to it, I would say go for it. It isn't a bad book, it just wasn't the best book I ever read. I am probably going to pick up the second book when it comes out because I'm curious to see what happens next.

Have you read Blood Rose Rebellion? What did you think of it? Did you like it more than I did?

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