Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.
Her life might well be over.
In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.
As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romanies, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.
Genre: Fantasy/Young Adult/Historical Fiction
Rating: 3/5 Stars
First Line: “I did not set out to ruin my sister’s debut.”
Do you ever read those books that you can see are likeable, and you can understand why people enjoy them, but for some reason you just…don’t? That was this book for me.
It’s not a bad book. It’s actually a really intriguing concept. It starts off explaining Anna’s life in this world that is exactly the same as 1800’s England, but with magic added in. I found it especially interesting that the magic was not hidden in this society, but put on display and utilized by those who ruled. Anna was born to a high class magical family, but she is “barren,” meaning she cannot cast spells. But for whatever reason, she can break them. So starts the adventures in this book, when one too many broken spells sends Anna to Hungary with her grandmother.
I think the main reason I didn’t like this book as much as I wanted to was because I found Anna to be…spoiled. Which makes sense, considering her family background, but I felt like she never really grew or learned from her experiences. Just when I started to like her, she would do something inconsiderate, oblivious, or even stupid.
Her love interest, on the other hand, was what kept me interested in the book. Gabor is a kindhearted man who stands up for what he believes in, but does not automatically resort to fighting with violence. I loved his character and wanted to learn more about him.
I think that there are those who would really like this book. It has magic and fantasy, mythical creatures, romance and mystery, all playing out on a stage that is not often used in literature (Hungary). If you enjoy fantasy novels, or have a fondness for historical fiction, this book could be a great read for you! It comes out on the 28th of this month (March) so if you’re interested it’s available super soon! And if you enjoy it, it’s set to have a sequel!