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?
The Rose Throne both is and isn’t what I would consider ‘fantasy romance’. Normally I shy away from anything labeled as a romance but I’m glad I decided to give it a chance. It was something about the two women being at odds in the description that drew me. When I think of what makes a book a ‘romance’ to me its that the main characters are agonizing over their love life almost the entire time. The Rose Throne wasn’t like that. There was a lot of agonizing to be sure but it was about being who they wanted to be and how to live their life and what is best for their country and people.
Ailsbet and Marissa are completely different characters and the story is told from their dual perspectives. This was done well in that they both had unique voice very much their own. At times I found Marissa to be a bit petulant and spoiled, I think anyone who reads it might agree with me on that. There is a good amount of miscommunication, misdirection, court politics and intrigue. So if you like that sort of thing, and women trying to come into their own, then you’ll probably enjoy it.
One downside for me was the concept of the magic wasn’t as well fleshed out in the first half or more of the book as I would have liked. I’m a lover of fantasy books so that is what I’m always aiming to learn more about – how unique the magic system is and how it works. I needed more of that here. I don’t believe you got a real feeling for the male taweyr power until much later in the book, while the female neweyr you were given a fairly good idea of how it worked early on. Even now I’m still a bit shakey on what the taweyr is actually capable of doing.
Even at almost 400 pages this was a super quick read. Things are definitely not all rosey in The Rose Throne – and I’m not exactly sure I think the title “The Rose Throne” is appropriate but that is just personal opinion, I can see how it fits though. I do really wish however that this was a stand alone and not the start of yet another series. Luckily, for me the way it ended satisfies me enough such that I don’t feel like I absolutely must read the next one. It is open ended but not a cliffhanger.
The Rose Throne