Power defines social ranking, and not just governmental power, but magical power as well. One girl’s unique magical ability plays a role in an uprising for magical equality in Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves.
In a society where your bloodline determines your eligibility to harness and use magic, the division between the ruling elite and the common people is vast. Anna Arden was born to the ruling class, the Luminate, but she’s been categorized as Barren, unable to wield magic. After immense anger unexpectedly disrupted the spell her sister was casting during her debut, Anna is exiled to Hungary with her Grandmama to protect the sisters’ reputations. While traveling to and in Hungary, Anna witnesses first-hand the divide between the classes, in which a rebellion is brewing and gaining strength, and she is determined to find a way to use magic, but in using it she has a choice to make in what role she’ll have withing the rebellion.
Despite an overly familiar plot within this genre, I enjoyed the story, it moved quickly, and it was set in 19th century Hungary, which was a rather unique setting. The world building of the Binding reminded me of Alice traveling through the looking glass, where everything might not be as it seems and it provided a good reflection of the brutal realities of Anna’s world. There was continuity issue that ripped me out of the story, which was Anna’s mastery of Hungarian: when she’s first in Hungary she mentions that she doesn’t know much Hungarian outside of what her Grandmama calls her, then she mentions that she’s learned just enough to be able to roughly ask for help to learn how to use Romani magic, but then when suddenly confronted with bad news in a Hungarian newspaper she suddenly seems able to read it without any issue, but there’s been no mention that she’s been working on learning the language.
Overall, I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.