Oh you guys, sometimes as a reader, I just really need a solid fantasy book to sink my teeth into. I love those long books that have this whole world that basically absorb you. I am a big fan of fantasy royalty as well. There’s something so cool about characters who sit on a throne. At this point, you can probably surmise that I had expectations foráThe Rose Throne by Mette Ivie Harrison. While it was a fine enough book, I never felt a love spark or caught feelings for it.
So basically ináThe Rose Throne there are two different kingdoms in which the kings who rule are very different from each other – Rurik and Weirland. Ailsbet is princess of Rurik and seems to think she is unweyr, meaning that she does not hold the female magic neweyr that connects her with life and the earth. Marissa is princess of Weirland and she has Neweyr in spades. As she has plenty of power and is eligible, she ends up betrothed to Ailsbet’s younger brother, Edik and so must travel to Rurik to do her duty. Only, y’all, Rurik is a violent place where the King is totally unstable and kind of murderous. Also, Marissa ends up getting feelings for Kellin, one of the dukes in Rurik.
I liked Ailsbet and Marissa and how different they were. Ailsbet comes across as sort of an ice queen, but that is because she has a secret that could put her life in danger. Also, she doesn’t have neweyr so she is unable to forge a bond and connection through elemental life magic with other women. HOWEVER, Ailsbet has this deep passion for music which was cool to read about. I love when characters have hobbies and interests and passions. As for Marissa, she’s a very kind and level headed person. She has been raised with love unlike Ailsbet. So, it’s a challenge for her to go to Rurik which is so different from Weirland. She must be on her guard at all times as her marriage alliance could form peace between the two island nations. Unfortunately, she cannot help her heart and her feelings.
Unfortunately, I did feel distant from this book. I never felt truly invested in the characters. Plus the names and the magic system name kept tripping me up causing this weird cognitive dissonance in my head because they never rolled off the tongue, ya know? I kept thinking about how to pronounce the weird names instead of you know, the story or how the magic and such worked. However, the dual magics – neweyr and taweyr were cool because they were gender based and represent different things. I thought that was a fairly creative aspect, just because I find various magic systems to be interesting and fun to read about. ALSO, I want to put right here that I thought the villain of the book, King Haikor, was totally over the top. It was definitely a bit much for me as a reader.
Straight up, I thought the romance ináThe Rose Throne felt kind of forced. I mean, Marissa and Kellin barely even know each other before Marissa begins to have feelings for him. I would call it insta-love, but I had a hard time seeing why there was an attraction. For a romance to work for me, it has to make sense and I have to feel real chemistry between the characters. Unfortunately, I did not.
Alas, Mette Ivie Harrison’sáThe Rose Throne was not quite the fantasy book I had hoped it would be. It was slow paced with odd names for pretty much everything, and a world that I never truly felt immersed in. I think that there’s potential for this book and that there is definitely an audience, just I am not really the sort for it. I think people who are into sprawling reads will enjoy this one.
Disclosure: Received for review via Netgalley
Other reviews of The Rose Throne by Mette Ivie Harrison:
Reading Lark – “Another fascinating component of this novel was the magic.”
One Librarian’s Book Reviews – “I was ultimately disappointed”
Sim-Sational Reviews – “I thoroughly enjoyed this one”