Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Goodreads Rating: 3/5 Stars
Cover Thoughts: I like it! I like the color aspect, it’s completely eye catching! And the fact that these roses seem to be crumbling adds to what this book could possibly be about!
The thrilling first book in a YA fantasy trilogy for fans of Red Queen. 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.
There is quite a few things that goes in this books favor. 19th century setting, a touch of Salvic mythology, Eastern Europe, faulty society, oppressed people ready for rebellion, a coming of age character just to name a few.
So our main character is Anna and Anna drove me nuts! But to be fair to the character it makes a little sense since she is so young. I had a hard time connecting with her though. She started off so shallow, so immature, so love-sick, it was hard to connect and often times made me cringe. But you know? that’s a lot of young teens anyway, right? maybe? anyway… I wasn’t impressed and almost put the book down because I didn’t care for her. She would be so silly and then all of a sudden have a little spirit and backbone just to turn silly again. boo.
But I did chug on and not sure what made me continue but I am glad I did.
I kept expecting more from the story. For most of the book nothing was really happening! I felt we kept getting dragged with little drops of hints of an uprising and lame Anna was too lame to join in. I don’t mind not sympathizing and not wanting to be involved which Anna didn’t but she was a pansy about it. However one of the main themes of the story is a revolution. So the story was a very slow progression towards this and just talk but no real action. There wasn’t really any umph or fire that is needed to make readers sympathize with the story and this so called cause for rebellion. It was just lacking.
The romance was a killer at first and I was real nervous that I was going to hate this story because of it. It started off horrible and I couldn’t STAND Anna in this area. She was beyond ridiculous but again the time period and her youth all make sense and so I can forgive her a bit for her ridiculousness. Insta-love was rampant and that is one thing I can’t stand or if the author is good enough can have it and make it just right to keep me the reader invested in the characters and this aspect of the story. It wasn’t until waaay later in the book that I was like…okay not bad but then found myself rolling my eyes again. Again, boo.
Overall I struggled with the story, it had SO MUCH potential but it took me forever to like the main character as it wasn’t until close to the end that she really started to grow out of her immaturity and naivety. It wasn’t until about 3/4 of the book that things really started to go for me and me to enjoy the story. The romance pretty much was a killer for most of the book. But I did enjoy the world building and all mentioned in the beginning of my review.
Sexual Content: mild
*A HUGE thank you to Netgalley and Knopf Books for Young Readers for this ARC which I got in exchange for an honest review*