Thursday 25 July 2013

The Rose Throne Review

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?

I love fantasy books, especially when they involve royalty and a splash of magic which is why I really wanted to read The Rose Throne. In this book, there are two opposing kingdoms, one tyrannical king with a lust for power, two princesses and a prophecy.  Sounds like a recipe for a good story and let me tell you that it was definitely an interesting little book with complex characters and a world not unlike ours by means of sharing common themes and threads. 

The story is told from two narrators, Princess Ailsbert and Princess Marissa (Issa) and I enjoyed reading about the differences between them.  Ailsbert is considered plain by most although I admired her wit and intelligence.  She has no magical capabilities, which sets her apart from everyone else, making her feel inadequate at times.  Although she is a princess and should be prepared to do her duty for her country, all she thinks about is music.  Issa on the other hand is everything a future queen should be.  She is kind, loyal, intelligent and her spirit is brimming over with magic.  She too has a duty to perform and in order to keep the peace and unite the two kingdoms, she is coerced into marrying Ailsbert’s younger brother, the Prince of Rurik but is that what Issa really wants? And what about the prophecy?

For all the romance fans out there, there are hints of romance in the book although I don’t want to go into details for fear of spoiling the plot.  What I will say is that Kellan is a worthy love interest although I didn’t always understand some of his interactions, particularly when it came to Ailsbert. I actually thought he was probably the most interesting character in the book by way of his motivations but I admit that I still haven’t got him all figured out yet.

As with most books about kingdoms, there is always a battle to rule and this book is of no exception.  But it is the magic that fascinates me the most.  In the world of The Rose Throne, there are several types of magic.  Taweyr is the more masculine energy, owned by the manfolk and used for battles, hunting, and war.  Neweyr is the feminine energy women have which is used for creation, beauty and nature.  There are those like Princess Ailsbet who are unweyr and do not appear to have any magic at all but it is the Ekhono that I am most fascinated with.  Those are people who have the ‘wrong kind’ of magic – females who emit masculine energy and males who emit feminine energy.  They are cast out from society by the King and persecuted by others, albeit not all, for what they are which they cannot help.  To be honest, it was glaringly obvious to me that this was just a metaphor for being gay; at least that’s what I perceive it to be.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and thought it showed a touch of originality about it but I wasn’t a big fan of the ending which seemed somewhat abrupt.  It’s obvious that there will be a sequel and I have since learned that this will be a series. I enjoyed all the plot twists, none of which were obvious and I look forward to a lot of my questions being answered in book two.

The Rose Throne was published on 14th May, 2013.  To find out more about Mette Ivie Harrison and her books, please click here to visit her website.

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