*I read this in March 2017. I reviewed it then. I read this as an arc. As always, this is my honest opinion of the book.
I was honestly hesitant to read this. Sometimes when you’re reading YA fantasy, once you read a couple, you feel as if you’ve read them all. So, going into Blood Rose Rebellion, I was intrigued, but also hoping it wouldn’t be more of the same.
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 was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. The story was engaging and enjoyable. I spent more than one night reading until 1am in order to find out what happens next.
The magic is well organized and makes sense, the stakes are high, and the conflict feels realistic. I wasn’t expecting historical fiction going in (I usually go 100% blind into my novels), but I loved it. I could have done without the magic info-dumps, but they were mainly at the beginning and the story continued with a faster pace.
There’s use of the word “gypsy” when talking about the Romani, but it’s out of ignorance and the characters correct it.
I loved Anna. She was feisty and stubborn and determined. There was some serious hurt in her and frustrations that were valid and dealt with. When resentment was an option, Anna consistently tried to do better.
The secondary cast of characters were great. I loved Gábor. He was mysterious and reserved, but he was hurt, too. Mátyás and Noémi were my favorites. They were unique, but strong and determined in their own ways. Anna’s grandmother was strong in her convictions and strong in spirit, and I loved her relationship with Anna.
This book deals a lot with opposing sides and the positives and negatives in both. Neither side is going to be 100% right and sometimes our choices aren’t going to feel peaceful, and that’s okay. I loved how Eves played with that concept within all the characters.
Also. That epilogue…neivbeiuvbjdbiweubv irbv I need book two.
*On a side note, this book is why I’m blogging again. I got an eARC on Netgalley and Alfred Knopf was kind enough to send me a physical ARC. Living in Puerto Rico, not a lot of publishers are willing to send physical ARCs here, so I am extremely grateful.