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 Romani, 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 a really interesting book as I was fascinated by the enchanting folklore of the Hungarian culture including the aspect of the Romani and the captivating history of the Austro-Hungarian Empire as it struggled on the brink of World War 1. Accompanying the beautiful culture and majesty of this country you are treated to magic, romance, thrills and more; everything a person could want in a book. Historical Fiction and magic were thrown into a blender then produced this book to examine genuine events shrouded with a bend of illusion on the side. Being a lifelong fan of Les Misérables I couldn’t help but feel like there was some breath of similarity to the political aspects of that story.
Rosalyn Eves proves she knows how to set a dazzling scene, actually write dialogue that sounds like real people are speaking and create multifaceted characters that could exist in the actual world. The only problem I had was trying to keep the names straight but that was due more to my unfamiliarity with the Hungarian culture. Eves proved her research ability with the included realism of people, places and events in Hungary and across other areas of Europe. Thankfully the character guide and glossary she includes at the end of the book helped with a lot of the confusion.
It wasn’t a perfect book as the exposition seemed to drag on unnecessarily and the romance felt forced. There are a few plot holes and times the author has her characters contradict themselves. There’s quite a few historical ‘facts’ that are inaccurate but since this is a novel and not a textbook those can be overlooked to some extent although it might irritate Hungarians or anyone familiar with their history. Every prerequisite of a YA novel is here so it will undoubtedly be popular among YA readers and bloggers alike regardless of any imperfections.
Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Children’s for allowing me to review this book.
Buy at Amazon: http://a.co/a6GdJlT
*synopsis and pic from amazon.com