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 was another book I picked up on a whim because I kept seeing it at bookstores. I also sort of like alternative historical fiction mixed with fantasy.
This book is set during the war of Austria-Hungary, but it also has magic within in that world, and those who are most powerful are of the higher class called Luminates. Anna is someone who hasn’t yet come into her powers, and her powers come to be during the worst possible moment. It sort of reminded me of what happened to Elsa in Frozen. She then has to leave with her grandmother off to Hungary to learn more about her power.
A lot of the plot reminded me of another book I recently read The Bone Witch which also involves her being trained and learning more about the magic of the world. While it didn’t have the same level of world building that The Bone Witch had, but it did have just enough amount of history and lore which didn’t feel a lot like info dumping.
This book also mixed Romani/Gypsy culture into the world of magic and fantasy. I kinda wish it also digged a little bit deeper in gypsy culture and the world of magic because I think it was written in way that for those who have an extensive knowledge of Romani culture.
Anna has a pretty good main character, she wasn’t too whiny, but there was times when she was a bit too lovey dubbey, especially towards Gabor when she is trying to kiss him or to get him to love her. It felt kinda insta-lovey. But when stuff was going down she was trying her hardest to fix everything.
The supporting characters were also really good. Her grandmother was great in her mentor role, introducing Anna to the world around her, and also making sure that she stays out of trouble, and even though she is old she can still kick some ass.
Gabor, her trainer also had a pretty good arc to him. While he was very stand offish when Anna didn’t kiss him, and was always very made at her since then. Also their love story felt a bit cliched. In which he is of a lower class, and of course they can’t be together.
The plot is starting up a rebellion within the kingdom, or at least it is beginning stages. The problem I kinda had with it was it felt a bit added towards the end without a lot of development or build up. If there was a lot more build up it could have led to a better story.
In the end, Blood Rose Rebellion was a pretty decent book, but it lacked the epicness I look for in a fantasy novel. I thought the characters were pretty well development and the world building was pretty well done. It could have dug deep in Romani culture and I felt the books ending was a bit rushed,