Title: The Throne Rose
Author: Mette Ivie Harrison
Date(s) read: March 15 – 17, 2013
Genre: YA fantasy
Source: Publisher / Netgalley
Richly-imagined fantasy romance from the author of Princess and the Hound, a tale of two princesses–one with magic, one with none–who dare seek love in a world where real choice can never be theirs. For fans of Megan Whalen Turner, Catherine Fisher, and Cassandra Clare.
Ailsbet loves nothing more than music; tall and red-haired, she’s impatient with the artifice and ceremony of her father’s court. Marlissa 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?
Thank you to Egmont USA and NetGalley for providing me a copy of this book for review!
I’ve never really been a fantasy person when it comes to books. I’m not sure why, but I always find myself drawn to books that are set in the here and the now with characters that I can relate to. Of course, sometimes I fall completely for a book cover or a synopsis and am thrown into a fantasy world that could go one of two ways.
With The Rose Throne, I was very intrigued by the synopsis — Two princesses? Magic? Love? Music? Sign me up! All of that mixed with a cover I fell in love with the instant I saw it on NetGalley meant that I was gone for. Although there were things I disliked about this book, there were plenty of things to love about it.
I really enjoyed the characters in this story, mainly the princesses Ailsbet and Marlissa. It took me a little while to get used to their unique names, but once I did I found myself torn on which princess I liked more. Ailsbet had my heart because she loved music, but comes from a very different world where her father, the king, is a very selfish man and it seemed like anything good was forbidden in her world; whereas Marlissa came from a world where her magic of the neweyr was cherished and celebrated. Her world had more balance and her father was a kind man. Both girls were so different, which had me on my toes for much of the novel.
Also, there’s the issue of love. This isn’t a teen insta-love kind of book, but a story of arranged marriages, where a princess is betrothed to someone who will be deemed fit to possibly rule one day. But there’s a catch! Only two people of opposing magic can get together — one neweyr and one taweyr. This part I found slightly confusing because I didn’t see the point of some of it. The neweyr seemed to be the magic to make things grow, like crops and flowers, whereas the taweyr was the magic of the men, used for hunting and killing, or coming out in fits of great anger. It was definitely interesting, but I found myself wondering what the benefit of either one were. It seemed that both forms of magic could be used for the greater good, but were sometimes used too frivolously.
I very much had a love/hate relationship with the king, Ailsbet’s father. He was an extremely selfish man and only seemed to rule based on great passion of being irked by someone under his ruling. I wanted him to think things through, to see reason, but found myself shaking my head at some of the things he did. I felt the same thing towards Edik, the king’s son, since he was very much under the influence of his father. I guess it’s hard to read a story where some of the characters are selfish beyond reason.
One thing I really liked about this story was that it wasn’t a light and fluffy princess story. There’s cruelty and a fight for power, characters that I absolutely hated, and some that I truly loved. I found myself swooning in some sections, and ready to throw my reader across the room in others, wondering how a character could be so stupid. If it weren’t for the confusion I felt over a few instances, I’m sure I could have really loved this book.
I did really enjoy this story and found myself intrigued whenever I picked it up to read. I’m unclear on whether or not this will be a series because it really ends like a series, like there should be more to come and I hope that there will be since I’d love to hear more about the characters. To me, there is definitely more story to be told.