Book Review : Blood Rose Rebellion
By Rosalyn Eves
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. (Courtesy of goodreads.com)
Adult Point of View
I was surprised when I started reading to see that the novel was written in first person. I wondered how I would like it without having the omniscient voice. After the first few pages I forgot that I was reading a first person POV and was completely engrossed.
I loved the setting, corresponding to pre-WWI in our universe. The tension building through the countries of Hungry and England felt accurate. The Romani (gypsy) people have been maligned for years and it became more pronounced during the wars.
One of the most important elements in a novel are the characters. The protagonist is Anna Arden, who is faced with a dilemma that she doesn’t appear to have magic like the others in Luminate society. She is an outcast in society, doesn’t fit in with the other classes and is searching for meaning in her life. Anna starts on a daring plan to try to learn magic in another way, an unauthorized path working through the Romani. Ultimately, Anna has to make her own choice to either free those trapped in the Luminate spell or allow the existing power structure to remain intact.
Another primary character is Gabor, who is a Romani young man who misjudges Anna because she is from the Luminate class of society. Gabor is also rejected by those in his Romani heritage; they cannot understand why he wants something more for his life. He is willing to be vulnerable and express his feelings for Anna, which surprises her because others in her social sphere hide their true intent.
I also was particularly fond of Anna’s cousins, both Matyas and Noemi. Matyas appears to be a cad, but also has a strong set of ethics when dealing with others. Noemi is initially very prickly, she is practically minded and builds a friendship with Anna. The grandmother is also full of a few surprises. Isn’t it true, that often the younger generation doesn’t recognize the skills of the older generation and doesn’t really know them? I really appreciated the grandmother’s wisdom and understanding the pain she had suffered from her choices.
As is true for many modern books, there are some violent scenes. I was concerned how the final scene would play out. It could have become very gruesome, however, I thought the author handled the scene very well. I also felt like the world was open to new possibilities when Anna and her friends joined one another after the war. It will be very interesting to see where Eves moves with the second book. I would recommend this book!
4 out of 5 stars
- the Mother
If you like this one I would recommend The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley for an older novel, The Gray Wolf Throne series by Cinda William Chima for something new, and Seraphina by Rachel Hartman if you need a few dragons.