Author: Mette Ivie Harrison
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: Egmont USA
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository
Read from April 16 to 29, 2013
My rating: 3.5 stars
Summary: Ailsbet loves nothing more than music; tall and red-haired, she's impatient with the artifice and ceremony of her father's court. Marissa adores the world of her island home and feels she has much to offer when she finally inherits the throne from her wise, good-tempered father. The trouble is that neither princess has the power--or the magic--to rule alone, and if the kingdoms can be united, which princess will end up ruling the joint land? For both, the only goal would seem to be a strategic marriage to a man who can bring his own brand of power to the throne. But will either girl be able to marry for love? And can either of these two princesses, rivals though they have never met, afford to let the other live?
I have to admit that before I started the book, I already had high hopes for The Rose Throne. I mean, look at the cover! (I'm a little superficial when it comes to pretty covers.) The coloring, the girl (whom I suppose is Princess Ailsbet), her facial expression, the details of her hair! And the words in the blurb paint the book in such a great light that it is hard to resist. Princesses, magic, kingdoms, love, rivalry? It's a no-brainer for me!
Now that I've read this book and thought it over, I'd say that it isn't bad. It's riveting, fun, mysterious, but at the same time it does disappoint me to some level. Now, I am not going to summarize the story, as 1) I have come to learn that summaries aren't ever 100% accurate and in fact often times misleading, no matter who writes it and 2) I read this book a month ago, so things aren't as fresh for me right now. Thanks to my notes, however, I know how to go on and where I'm going with this.
First things first: this book is slow. I'm usually not someone who likes slow books, and even though I tend to finish every book I read, my attention span and tolerance are very limited when it comes to slow-paced books. But that's not necessarily a bad thing; a slow pace allows for a great story building, only when an author knows how to make use of it. And unlike other books I've read that stretch the story aimlessly for far too long, The Rose Throne makes a good use of its slow pacing and develops its story well. This book also takes a lot of time to digest--a quality I'm not generally quite fond of. Initially, the magic terms (e.g. taweyr, neweyr, unweyr, ekhono) were confusing me a lot, and that was a bit frustrating. The author did not exactly give a clear definition to these terms, but you can infer from the context and story, and yes, that took time to make sense.
The story was exciting and fun, and I think the author also did well on the characterization of Ailsbet and Marlissa, but not really of the other minor characters. I really enjoyed the wit of both princesses and their unique characteristics. I'm not going into details here, but let's just say that I enjoyed this book a whole lot.
One thing, though, is that I really wanted to appreciate the twist near the end of the book, but think it isn't very well executed. It didn't feel grand. I didn't see it coming; it just felt like the author couldn't decide what to do next, so she threw in this twist out of nowhere and hoped for the best. Well, I didn't like it, and I found it disappointing for a good book to suffer this bad twist. I think it took away the energy it was building up. And I also wanted to like the ending, but something feels off. After the awkward plot twist, things were quite awkward until the end. And I was consequently underwhelmed.
After such an ending, there has to be sequels. And I still would definitely read other books in the series, as I enjoyed this book and I'm curious to know how it all will turn out.
This review is also posted on Goodreads.
I received a digital copy from NetGalley and the publisher for review.