Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

Summary:

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.

The Review:

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,

Grade: 3.4/5

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Fate of Flames by: Sarah Raughley

Summary:

Years ago, everything changed. Phantoms, massive beasts of nightmare, began terrorizing the world. At the same time four girls, the Effigies, appeared, each with the unique power to control a classical element. Since then, they have protected the world from the Phantoms. At the death of one Effigy, another is chosen, pulled from her normal life into the never-ending battle.

When Maia unexpectedly becomes the next Fire Effigy, she resists her new calling. A quiet girl with few friends and almost no family, she was much happier to admire the Effigies from afar. Never did she imagine having to master her ability to control fire, to protect innocent citizens from the Phantoms, or to try bringing together the other three Effigies.

But with the arrival of the mysterious Saul—a man who seems to be able to control the Phantoms using the same cosmic power previously only granted to four girls at a time—Maia and the other Effigies must learn to work together in a world where their celebrity is more important than their heroism.

But the secrets Saul has, and the power he possesses, might be more than even they can handle…

The Review:

If you saw my Top 5 Wednesday: SFF Books on your TBR, then you know that this book was on my list, mainly because of the premise which states “Pacific Rim meets Sailor Moon” two of my favorite things.

I would described this book as a two hour pilot to a TV show, in which it has a lot of world building and setting up characters and their arcs. With it’s world building it is set in a world in which “phantoms” attack and it is the job of the Effigies to stop them. There is suppose to be four Effigies at a time and a new one becomes active after one dies. It kinda reminded me a lot of Buffy in that sense.

Maia was a very good protagonist. I like that at first, she is very starstruck by the other Effigies and acts like a fan girl when she first meets them, especially her first encounter with Belle. She was very smart and know what was going on. With her as a main character a lot of the info dumping is done through her which made it seem more natural rather than boring.

The other Effigies; Belle, Lake and Chae Rin, were also great characters, you really felt as if they were a team. Also individually they were all great as well. If I were to pick a favorite it would definitely be Lake, mainly because she is a singer and I also love her attitude. I kinda wish that I got to see more of them together. Hopefully future books will give them more development because I really like the characters.

The book does a good job at setting up the world it is placed in and the conflict it was. The Effigies work for the Sect, who basically train them and sets them up on missions. They pretty much reminded me of SHIELD.

I thought the main villain, Saul was a bit under developed. While you do see why he did what he did, I kinda wish it was a bit fleshed out more. I think it will be fleshed out more in future  books.

I thought the action was also very well done. While yes, most of action takes place in the beginning and the end, it was extremely worth and all I kept picturing was Pacific Rim monsters being attacked by the Sailor scouts. I also picture the phantoms sort of like the Kaiju from Pacific Rim

In the end, Fate of Flames was a very good first book. It did a good job at world building and setting up the characters. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Grade: 3.8/5

Jackaby by:William Ritter

Summary:

Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.

Review: 

Another book from my TBR list, I remember seeing it at bookstores and how it was a combination of Doctor Who meets Sherlock. two of my favorite shows and it actually felt like I was watching a WhoLock episode, with a little bit of supernatural.

R.F. Jackaby is basically the 10th Doctor with a little bit of Sherlock in him. He is a genius but he has a lot of arrogance in him and thinks that he is smarter than everyone. There was times when I felt he was a little bit unlikable, mainly towards the middle of the book but in the end is was a very good character to follow.

Abigail Rook is basically the Watson or companion role. I like that the book was told through her perspective because it makes it easier to follow the world it is based in. I like that she also wanted to be apart of the adventure and willing to learn from Jackaby. A major strength of the book is the relationship between Jackaby and Abigail which reminded me a lot of the Doctor/Companion relationship from Doctor Who. The back and forth between the characters has really good.

The supporting characters were also really like such as Inspector Marlowe, and Charlie Cane who I really want to see have more development in the next few books.

The plot, I felt was a little like a 2 hour pilot. It did a good job at introducing the two leads, and it has about a random case that Jackaby had to solve. But it was great trying to solve the case. I actually really liked the supernatural elements in the book, but I did feel that the twist felt a little tact on and not developed as much and even the conclusion I felt was a bit rushed. I did like the mystery element and mainly the setting which is in the Victorian era. I always did like mystery novels growing and I do feel that the genre is a bit lacking in the YA community so it was nice to read about.

In the end, Jackaby was a very good first book of a series that did a good job at introducing characters and the world where the story takes place in. While I felt that the twist could have been much better developed I do plan on reading the rest of the series.

Grade: 4/5

Hype or Like Friday: Review of The Winners Curse

Happy Friday to you all,

For this weeks Hype or Like Friday it is a review of The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Hype or Like Friday is a meme created by Jillian, Larkin, and Britt to discuss about hyped books and see if they’re hyped up or not. There would be book of the month that you can read, and the post your review for it on the end of the month, then rate it whether it’s a hype it or like it.

Summary

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love…

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

The Review 

I first read this book  last year, when I heard nothing but good things to say about it especially from the booktube community. Everyone saying how great and epic the series is and how you should read it. I read the book and I did not finish it. The book really disappointed me and it was one of the first time a book let me down.

I recently read the book again and while I actually finished the book, I still had many problems.

One of the problems I had was the characters. I just felt the characters was bland and uninteresting. I know the story was suppose to a  “Romeo and Juliet”  retelling but I felt the story and characters didn’t warrant it.

I was also disappointed in how they handled the subject of slavery. I know it is a YA book, but slavery is a tough topic and if the book handled the topic better, I felt the book would have been better.

I also didn’t feel transported into the world the book is set in. I also blame the poor world building for it.

While I felt towards the end the book gotten better I found myself bored with the story, and it didn’t get me enthusiastic about reading the next book.

Now if you liked the book that is fine, the book just wasn’t for me.

So my grade is Hype.

Did you like the book? If so should I continue with the series. Let me know in comments below.