Mette Ivie Harrison
Publisher: Egmont USA
Release Date: May 14, 2013
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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. 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?
Honestly, I had no idea what to expect going into this book. I picked it up because the cover was pink and pretty and I'd been craving a fantasy. I barely even skimmed over the blurb. I was as surprised as anyone else when I ended up completely falling in love with it. It is legitimately one of the best fantasy books I've ever read, with easily one of my top five favorite romances. Set in a gorgeous and intriguing world full of people who'll stop at nothing to rise to the top, The Rose Throne absolutely blew me away. It was my first book by Mette, but I guarantee it will not be my last.
Issa is easily my favorite of our two heroines. She's clever and yet not weak. She's ladylike, and a true princess, but at the same time her courage is strong without being obnoxious. She knows her place but she also isn't afraid to risk everything just to help someone else. Issa has spunk and bravery, and yet she isn't insipid and she doesn't make her decisions without thinking about them. She does what she believes is right but she isn't impulsive. I freely admit that I have a massive girl crush on her.
Honestly, while I adored Issa, I had mixed feelings about Ailsbet. It's much harder to get a read on her character, and it was really difficult to figure out her true personality. I don't think she's an awful person, but she's definitely selfish. I do think she sometimes tries to see what's better for other people but she has so much pride that she has a hard time seeing past it.
THE LOVE INTERESTS
I am actually head over heels for Kellin, so, you know. I completely, utterly adore him. He has that whole strong and silent things going on, but then going further he's actually really sweet even if he doesn't always show it. Oh, and don't let's forget passionate. And sexy. Really, really sexy. He has a righteous heart, but he's not an idiot and he doesn't do things without taking precautions. He rebels against the bad in his own way, and his loyalty runs deep.
I don't even know why I'm mentioning Umber, since I never really liked him and he didn't feel that important to me. At first I thought he might be decent, and he really did treat Ailsbet well. But we never really get to see his true intentions clearly, so it's difficult to judge him.
From page one, I was instantly drawn into the world of The Rose Throne. Prophecies are always exciting, and I loved the way this one played out. I was really invested in seeing where it would go and I literally could not put this book down. I began reading it on a whim, but it soon turned out that this book had me wrapped around its…pages.
I loved how everything fit together. Issa wants to please her father, so she goes along with the idea of a loveless marriage to a much younger prince. There, she meets Ailsbet, the princess who is hiding her owns secrets. I loved getting the POV of both girls. Each one is hiding something, so it was interesting to see their struggles alone and yes, together.
I really enjoyed the fantasy elements too. In this world, women have magic of life, or neweyr, while men have magic of battle and death, taweyr. Of course, sometimes there are people born with no magic or people born with the "wrong" magic, which is a really interesting side plot that helped me in falling for Kellin. But, I really like the way the magic was employed. It's not necessarily central, but it's definitely important.
My main complaint is that when I later went back and looked over the blurb it is kind of misleading. Not so misleading that it destroys the whole book, but there are some noticeable things that just didn't match up. Still, I didn't think it was a huge deal.
So, yeah, I loved this. I really, really loved it. It is easily one of my top favorites of all time and maybe the best book I've read this year or at least way, way up there. I enjoyed this book so much I just want to cuddle with it.
Issa and Kellin are easily one of my top five favorite fictional couples ever, and that is a hard list to get on because it involves kicking someone off. But they did it. I absolutely, completely adore them together. They had chemistry from the very beginning, and for a while I worried it wouldn't go anywhere, especially as there were distractions. There's a sort of burning intensity between them that I love and though it isn't easy, love rarely is. I love the way they tease each other and yet take care of each other, and how they can't stay apart even when they try to.
I adore the writing in this book. I am in love with it. Both girls have distinct, clear voices, and even though their thoughts aren't always completely clear, they're still understandable. The word choice is gorgeous and uncomplicated. I love the way things are explained without being pushy, and though I wish there had been more descriptor language it was still so, so wonderful. Everything really flows and connects.
The ending has the hint of a resolution and what is going to happen next, but it still leaves room for more story to be told. There's definitely something of an HEA, though, at the same time, which I really liked and helped cement my deep love for this book. I'd love more, but the ending was still written in such a way that even if there isn't more, I can feel like the story came far enough along and was resolved satisfactorily.
The Rose Throne is currently a standalone, but Mette has two ideas for sequels drafted, which I would be hugely open to. Normally I'd appreciate that it's a standalone but in this case I'm dying for more so desperately that I really hope there's more. The ending was awesome but I still want more. I loved every bit of this. It's a seriously beautiful book and maybe the best thing I've read this year. Would I recommend this book? Duh. If you're a fantasy lover like me, don't think twice. Even if you're normally not huge on fantasy, please consider this one. It is really on its own level of amazingness.
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