I received this book for free from Netgalley. This did not influence my review.
I finally had a chance to do a little reading, so I picked a YA fantasy: Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves. This entertaining, suspenseful novel is set in the mid-1800s in an alternative fantasy world of England and Hungary, where the ruling elites maintain their status and power not only through bloodlines and money, but through magic. Years ago, a spell was cast by a small cadre of the nobility to concentrate access to magic in the hands of a few. The "Binding" prevented outsiders who might have magical talent from ever learning how to use it. While the rationale behind the Binding made some sense (it also trapped dangerous magical monsters within the spell so that they couldn’t harm humans), in practice it led to grave abuse of power.
Anna’s parents and grandmother whisk her off to Hungary, her grandmother’s home country, in the hopes that the scandal will die down and The Circle will lose interest in her. Instead, Anna becomes embroiled in a plot to break the Binding spell and free access to magic to the masses. This does not go over well with those in control.
This is a well-done fantasy with intricate world building and a quasi-historical setting that Eves brings to life with a bold sympathetic heroine, a strong love interest, and new friends who are fully rounded characters. Newly released, this is billed as Blood Rose Rebellion #1, so I look forward to the next installment!