Monday, April 15, 2024

Queen of Roses - Review

Queen of Roses (Blood of a Fae, # 1)

By: Briar Boleyn

Publication: April 15, 2023 by Starwater Press

361 pages

Genre: Adult, Fantasy

Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!)

( Goodreads | Amazon )

*Note: The above link to Amazon is an affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--A doomed love, a dangerous mission, and a kingdom on the brink of war...
A cast-off princess…

Born into a life of duty and sacrifice, Morgan Pendragon’s destiny has never been her own. Rumored to carry the tainted blood of the fae in her veins, her birthright is stolen from her when she is a mere child. Growing up in the shadow of her brother the king, she has been promised to the goddesses when she comes of age. So, when her brother commands that she seek out a fae weapon of legendary power, Morgan seizes the chance to break free from the chains of her fate.

A dangerous temptation…

As she travels, Morgan finds herself drawn into a strange group of outcasts, led by a dark and enigmatic warrior whose sharp wit and fierce beauty set her heart ablaze. But while Morgan struggles to reconcile her desires with her duty, she and her new comrades discover dangers that await them beyond anything in their wildest nightmares.

A slumbering kingdom awoken by blood…

Believed to have vanished generations ago, a fae kingdom dreaded by mortals is ascending once more, bound to reclaim what was lost by violence and bloodshed. As the fae world, with its intricate web of lies and mysteries, is slowly revealed to Morgan, she is led to the terrible realization that the secrets she carries in her blood make her a greater threat than she could ever have imagined.

The first in an action-packed new series brimming with magic, danger, and spellbinding slow-burn romance, Queen of Roses is perfect for fans of Holly Black, Jennifer L. Armentrout, and Sarah J. Maas.

Morgan is the firstborn child of the king of Pendrath. Her mother was fae...either full-blooded or part, she isn't quite sure. Her mother used to take medication to suppress any fae traits, and Morgan has taken the same medication all her life. Morgan is traumatized by her childhood--specifically the death of her mother. Her father went on to have two more marriages, and she has a half-brother from each marriage. Because her father came to hate the fae blood in both her mother and herself, he changed the line of succession from Morgan to her brother Arthur. Morgan loves her brothers, but Arthur has steadily followed in their father's footsteps, which has led him further and further away from her.

The world is loosely based on Camelot, King Arthur, and that mythology. Briar Boleyn changes almost everything, so that's why I say loosely based. Arthur is evil (or at least seems to be), Lancelet is a girl, Galahad is going into service to the temple, and Merlin is a girl and is said to be mostly powerless despite being the head priestess over their religion. Lancelet and Galahad are both gay. The LGBTQ pieces were mentioned repeatedly but not dwelled on continually, and I didn't feel like the author was trying to preach, even if she was trying to present this version of the world as she would like it to be when it comes to this topic.

I felt terrible for Morgan. She has witnessed so much--at the hands of her father, Florian, and even Arthur himself. Yet she was generally pretty naive. She ignored so many red flags from Arthur. I guess we do sometimes get blinded by those we love. And, of course, the entire Vesper storyline was so obvious to me. I suppose her naivete is necessary for the storyline, but if you ever want to shake a heroine into common sense, you'd probably want to do so with Morgan.

Draven is assigned to take Morgan on a mission for her brother to retrieve Excalibur. Morgan doesn't trust Draven, but he's never done anything to make her mistrust him...other than perhaps being a little bit of a jerk when they first met. Obviously, the reader can see he is keeping secrets. Morgan knows he's likely keeping secrets, too, but she doesn't push him to reveal those secrets either.

The only highlights I made were of things I thought might come back in the future. So I have no quotes to share with you today.

Queen of Roses was a solid first book in a new series for me. I was hooked early on. I wanted to keep reading when I needed to stop for real life, which is always a good sign that things are going well. I like Morgan and want to see her succeed, even though I want to shake her a few times to have her wake up from her naivete. I didn't mention earlier that I don't like when book descriptions compare a book to others I've loved because it can feel like expectations build up too much. Time will tell whether this series stands up to the likes of Sarah J Maas or Jennifer L Armentrout. For now, Queen of Roses gets 4 Stars. Have you read Queen of Roses? What did you think? Let me know!

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