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The Rose Throne by Mette Ivie Harrison

The Rose Throne (edition 2013)

by Mette Ivie Harrison

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6213275,199 (3.36)2
Title:The Rose Throne
Authors:Mette Ivie Harrison
Info:EgmontUSA (2013), Hardcover, 400 pages
Collections:Read, Your library
Tags:Historical Fiction, Teen Fiction, Magical Powers, Magic, Teen Historical Fiction, Early Reviewers, ARC, LTER

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The Rose Throne by Mette Ivie Harrison



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Princesses! Princesses who actually understand princess responsibilities re: kingdoms and marrying and having kids. These princesses aren’t the frou-frou, super modern romance princesses you may be used to from other YA books. I found that very refreshing. It was SO NICE to have more realism in a book with royalty and romance and magic! The realism balanced out the fantastical bits, and I think it made the story more exciting than it would have been had either of the princesses been more like someone transposed from today’s society into an early medieval-ish era.

That said, I DID have a problem with the development of one of the romances. I don’t know if my ARC was missing a section or what, but it basically went like this:

Princess: Hello! I am a princess.
Dude: Hello! I am here to get you married to a prince (who is not me).
P: Okay, I accept.
Followed by various depressing scenes were they have lots of unadvised (as it could get them killed if someone noticed it) sexual tension followed by an improbable happy ending. ( )
  doctorsidrat | Dec 9, 2018 |
Reviewed @ My Shelf Confessions

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 rosy 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.

*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review. All opinions expressed are my own* ( )
  Pabkins | May 2, 2014 |
Any fans of Game of Thrones out there?

I like to think of the Rose Throne as something like Game of Thrones Lite. Parents who are fans of the series and are trying to help their kids get into the genre without handing them George R. R. Martin’s extremely violent and sexual tome might want to think about getting them the Rose Throne. There’s more of a fantasy element in the sense of ever present magic but it has a lot of the same political intrigue. It’s a good primer for kids before they tackle Game of Thrones. I mean, you might as well let them leave off on reading them as long as possible. It’s not like the series is going to be finished any time soon.

The Rose Throne takes place in a world where magic is fairly commonplace. The kingdoms of Rurik and Weirland are both known for their people’s ability to wield internal magical powers known as neweyr and taweyr. Not everyone can wield these powers and not everyone should. Neweyr – which is related to life and the land, growth and rebirth – is a power that generally belongs to women. Meanwhile taweyr – which is physical and fueled by power, anger, and death – generally belongs to men. Those who wield the wrong power for their gender are often persecuted and in Rurik they are even put to death. Both powers are thought to be necessary to balance the other and a strong throne would have a king who could rule with a strong taweyr and a queen who could support the land through her neweyr. But in Rurik the iron fisted King Haikor cares only for taweyr. He taxes it and takes it from the men below him. He expects to use his children only to his own benefit and he removes any and all threats to his reign – including members of his own family.

This is the kingdom into which Princess Ailsbet is born and Princess Marlissa (known as Issa) is to be thrown.

The story is told from the two girls’ perspectives. Ailsbet is King Rurik’s daughter and as far as anyone in the kingdom – including herself at first – knows she was born without any type of power. Instead she devotes all her time to music – something that the rest of the kingdom could care less about. Marlissa, on the other hand, is the daughter of the king of Weirland and she’s been betrothed to Ailsbet’s younger brother, Edik. Some hope in secret that if a child could be born of Edik and Marlissa who weilds both weyrs that a great prophecy might be fulfilled, the balance to the weyrs restored, and the kingdoms reunited.

But it won’t be that easy.

When you play the game of thrones it’s never that easy.

The two girls are faced with difficult decisions and forced to weight their desires for freedom, power, love, and the safety of their kingdoms as they navigate the treacherous waters of the Rurik court. This is a very different book from many other young adult novels that circulate around. Because for these girls their paths – though decided for them in part – remain their own. Both are strong female characters without any real, solid romantic interests at first. Their are no ‘instant relationships’ in this novel as are so common these days in others. The men the girls see every day, the ones they are betrothed to, and the ones they think they love are not the same people. Relationships are built and broken not in an instant but over time. I particularly liked Ailsbet’s relationship with Lord Umber and Issa’s relationship with Lord Kellin.

I also really, really liked the weyr magic system. I liked how it worked, it’s quirks, the social hierarchy around those with the power, and the social stigma that develops around those who have the ‘wrong’ powers. It’s all very well developed and believable. And it’s a nice little social commentary on our own world done in a way that is not overly preachy to younger readers.

What I liked most about the Rose Throne, though, was that it wasn’t predictable. It was not your traditional fantasy romance with a teenage princess and her teenage prince. There is deceit, murder, and intrigue. Ailsbet, who wants nothing more than to escape to the continent most days where her music can be appreciated, finds herself keeping a deep secret that could get her and anyone else who knows it killed. Issa keeps a secret, too, about who truly holds her heart and that could also get her – and him – killed. The girls are constantly battered from every angle throughout the story and it’s a story that is always in motion, flowing easily from event to event. Things are constantly happening and occasionally if you don’t read carefully you can miss things. Ultimately both girls are really forced into action one way or another in an ending that could easily set the stage for a series of stunning sequels as the girls come into their own and really decide what they should do next.

Really, this book is definitely worth a read.

It’s not something that I would necessarily find myself reading again and again but it’s a great story. Don’t let the descriptions on Good Reads or Amazon fool you. It really isn’t just a fantasy romance. It’s something that I think a lot of fantasy and high fantasy writers themselves would enjoy. For fantasy fans young and old alike it’s the sort of story that fills the gap between entries in George R. R. Martin’s epic saga. It’s not just a kid’s book. Like I said, it’s almost like Game of Thrones Lite. I just hope that we get at least one sequel because there is so much of this story yet to be told. ( )
  samaside | Sep 29, 2013 |
This book has it all ~ an evil king, battles for power, attempts to join two kingdoms in peace, mystery, intrigue, fantasy, love ~ something for everyone of all ages. Easy, fast read.

I received a free copy of The Rose Throne through Goodreads First-reads.
( )
  emkemi23 | Aug 23, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
King Haikor is a mercurial ruler whose violent fits of temper can mean that his favorite courtier one day may be executed at his order the next. Growing up in such an environment, sixteen-year-old Ailsbet has learned to adapt, to obey her father's whims without expressing her own anger which so often simmers below the surface of her personality. Ailsbet has always been different from the rest of her people -- without the neweyr, or women's magic, she cannot take part in many traditional activities, or even converse with other women when the topic turns to magic -- and because of that distance, many of her father's court see her as cold and conceited. Music is her only refuge. But when her father starts discussing plans to arrange a marriage for her, will her music be enough?

To the north of Haikor's kingdom lies another land, one with a more benevolent king on the throne. He also has a sixteen-year-old daughter, Marlissa. Since her mother's death, Issa has taken the queen's place as custodian of the neweyr, working alongside the women of her country to strengthen the land. She loves the land and its people -- but as princess, she is also facing the prospect of marriage, and when a surprising offer takes her away from the country she loves, she must learn to adapt -- even though she has lost her heart to a man who is not her betrothed.

This story has its good points, including an interesting binary magic system and issues related to what happens when a person of one gender is born with the opposite gender's magic. I'll admit, however, that I thought this idea was not explored to its fullest potential. The characters are well-developed, though Marlissa's romance is of the hello, I hate you, I love you, we are doomed sort, without a lot of development in between those stages. There are plenty of plot twists, though I never found the book as a whole as gripping as I thought I should, if that makes sense. Also, neither the title nor the original cover are particularly suited to the content of the story -- the "rose throne" is only mentioned in passing, and the lacy pink cover design may lead readers to expect something with more froth and less grit than the story contained therein. I didn't exactly dislike this book, but it's not one I see myself rereading, recommending, or even remembering a few months from now. ( )
  foggidawn | Jul 11, 2013 |
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"Princess Ailsbet, your father demands you attendance at court this morning," said Duke Kellin of Falcorn, bowing.
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An ancient prophecy hints that the kingdoms of two princesses from rival lands, one with magic and one without, will be united under one rule--and one rule only.

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