book review, young adult

Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves (Review)

Title: Blood Rose Rebellion
Author: Rosalyn Eves
Type: Fiction
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Historical
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (Penguin Random House)
Published: March 28, 2017

A physical copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

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 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.

– My Review –

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Having never read anything by Rosalyn Eves before picking up this book, I had no idea what to expect except that Blood Rose Rebellion would contain actual historical facts and places, and that there would be magic which the real world never possessed. I have to say that I was intrigued by this mixture, since I have read a lot of high fantasy over the years, and the only other historical YA + magic books that I came across are the Diviners series by Libba Bray, and The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell. None of those books took place during the Victorian era, however, which is one of my favourite eras, and I was very excited to see how Eves would portray and alter it in this first book of her series.

I can tell you now, that for someone who loves the Victorian era, and knows some details about it due to school, and research done simply out of pure curiosity, Eves really impressed me. I really appreciated that there was no modern colloquial phrasing which might have broken the spell on me, and that the dialogue and narrative were believable for that era. The manner in which fashion, people, culture, and locations were described was also credible for the Victorian era! It is quite evident that Eves has done her research, and I am a reader who always appreciate s when authors are thorough like this (particularly when it comes to history).

The magic system in Blood Rose Rebellion also quite intrigued me. It is unlike anything else that I recall coming across in my many years of reading, and I have to say that I am curious to find out more about it in the sequel, Lost Crow Conspiracy, and any book/books that follows/follow. I was not too surprised to find that the heroine, Anna, is different from all of the people around her, but I will admit that appreciated the manner in which this was handled in the book. Anna, as a character, was also likeable, which is a good thing, considering that she is narrating the book from the first-person perspective. I liked some of the other characters a little more and would have loved a peek into their thoughts as well.

And lastly, I would just like to talk a little bit more about the setting. As someone who loves the Victorian era, I of course love reading about Victorian England. However, I was very pleased to find that a good portion of the book actually takes place in Eastern Europe! The mention of Hungary in the book’s synopsis is actually one of the things that drew me to this series the most. A lot of the classical literature that I have read from the Victorian era doesn’t really leave British shores (and I will not count Bram Stoker’s Dracula because I found his representation of my home country, Romania, to be kind of …ethnocentric? If that’s even the right term.)

The only other YA book set in the Victorian era that left England (that I can recall) was Stalking Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco, and I loved that it took place in Romania, and close to my birthplace too! Anyway, what I am trying to say is that, more historical YA set in the Victorian era should wander away from England a little more, and address some of the other places and events in the world, as Blood Rose Rebellion has done quite well. And I am eager to see what Eves will share with us in the sequel, Lost Crow Conspiracy (which I will be reviewing very soon).

– About the Author –


Rosalyn Eves grew up in the Rocky Mountains, dividing her time between reading books and bossing her siblings into performing her dramatic scripts. As an adult, the telling and reading of stories is still one of her favorite things to do. When she’s not reading or writing, she enjoys spending time with her chemistry professor husband and three children, watching British period pieces, or hiking through the splendid landscape of southern Utah, where she lives. She dislikes housework on principle. She has a PhD in English from Penn State, which means she also endeavors to inspire college students with a love for the English language. Sometimes it even works. Rosalyn is represented by Josh Adams of Adams literary. Her first novel, Blood Rose Rebellion, first in a YA historical fantasy trilogy, is out now from Knopf/Random House. Her second, Lost Crow Conspiracy, comes out March 27, 2018.

– Purchase Links –

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