This was just a massive collection of everything I try to avoid in a book.
Harsh? Yeah. Kind of. But it’s the truth, you guys.
This was a case of me attempting to rebel against my clearly-knowledgeable friends who have read this before me, hated it with a fiery passion, and warned me against it.
I, however, am rebellious and do not listen. I’m sorry. I should have. But I didn’t, and here we are.
This book’s concept is fabulous. I mean, a magic system in Europe, as a historical fiction? Yes, please. I love hist fic (although I could do without the sexism, thank you very much) and having a magic-powers-caste-system is highly interesting. And if you’re reading this and getting excited, much like I did, this isn’t one of those books that I’d recommend you try anyway. You’ll just end up a disappointed rebellious reader, like me. And while I’d appreciate the company, I’d really rather sit this one out by myself. #SelflessActs
BLOOD ROSE REBELLION is set in Hungary, which, again, is insanely cool. The descriptions of the country at the selected time period, which I’d count as world-building, are well-researched, resulting in a detailed, immersive setting.
But here’s the catch: The pacing is slow as a drugged slug running on 2 hours of sleep*, partly because the descriptions are layered on a bit thick at times. I really just wanted the author to cut to the chase and get the actual plot ball rolling. I know you did research, Rosalyn Eves. Get on with it, please.
* please ignore my weird simile skills. I don’t even know from what dark corners of my brain that crawled out of.
The actual meat of the story, whatever it may be (because I still have no idea what I just read, by the way) consists of severe info-dumping where the magic system’s origin and rules are thrown sloppily at the reader. A chapter or two later, and especially at the finale, the rules of this world and its magic are completely thrown out the window, leading to “wait, you can do THAT?” moments. Major plot hole alert here.
Unfortunately, there was nothing about the characters to redeem this book, either. Many were hardly developed to be anything other than plot devices or a checklist, such as Generic Female Friend, Love Interest #3 (out of 4), and Snobbish Older Sibling. Excuse me if I don’t care about a character that the author herself has neglected.
Anna, our MC in this shindig, is a difficult person to like. She is self-absorbed. She always plays the victim. She is as dense as condensed milk. In short: she is dumber than a rock, and having to see the book through her eyes is similar to watching a 3D movie without the glasses. Meaning, Anna gave me a headache. Also, this happened:
I ruined my sister’s debut. I spoiled her illusions. And I kissed the man she’d hoped to marry.
And speaking of: Anna kisses 4 different men in the span of 400-ish pages. Including: a guy who cheated on her, her cousin, a fiery demon thingy, and her love interest.
Oh, and while we’re talking about that love interest in particular, have a look at this particular gem in Anna’s subconscious:
“I don’t need a doctor.” I wished, stupidly, that my wound were more severe, so his hands would linger.
This is so embarrassingly bad, I almost feel sorry for her. But still: what the actual hell.
The writing is another story. Remember all those times in which my main complaint about several 2017 releases was the I-need-more-sophistication-to-your-word-choice problem? Well, it was as if Eves heard me, loaded up improvements on a platter, and halfway towards serving me, tripped and fell and spilled all the tray on my fragile self. And if I completely lost you there, allow me to translate: It was as if Eves pulled out her AP Eng Lang vocabulary lists and proceeded to use a bunch of fancy, ridiculous words straight from it. I’m not kidding – I actually recognized several vocab words I learned in AP Lang junior year. I don’t enjoy feeling dumb, and what I enjoy even less is reaching for a dictionary every paragraph. I legit skipped those words, going akshkfjbj in my head instead. Because, at that point, there was no difference if I’d simply read those pieces of hell itself. Nooo, thank you.
Want an example? Of course you do.
I could not help thinking Mama would never tolerate such slovenliness, and was surprised when such a prosaic thought hurt.
Call me unsophisticated, but I don’t have the definition of ‘slovenliness’ or ‘prosaic’ floating around in my head. You might, but I don’t.
I’m trying to come up with a positive point here, but I just can’t find anything worth redeeming this major flop of a book. I guess that’s when you truly know that that 1-star is justifiable.
This was simply a case of terrible execution, honestly. Great idea, great components .. and not much else.
To put it in my own words: The ingredients were all correctly chosen, and they were measured out carefully, but sadly, they were left too long in the oven and were burned to a vaguely coal-shaped piece of blah.