Monday, April 8, 2013

The Rose Throne by Mette Ivie Harrison - Book Review

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?

. . . .

Mette Ivie Harrison is a less-known author.  I get pangs of guilt tearing into indie books, so I’m going to try to soften my ranting here, but make no mistake; I would not recommend this book.

I get what Harrison was going for here.  Romance in a Victorian-esque setting, with gender-specific magic involved.  Issa and Ailsbet are both princesses, both honor-bound to marry not for love, but for political advantage.  The world of Rurik and Weirland is largely influenced by its magic; the masculine tewyr and the feminine neweyr.  I won’t really get into the specifics of the magic system because it’s all very dull stuff, but basically in Rurik, it’s punishable by death for a man to have newery or for a woman to have teweyr.

So, yeah, what this novel aims for is a story of forbidden love and forbidden magic, set in a fantastical setting, with one Big Bad Evil King villain.  But what it aims for and what it delivers are two very different things.

The Rose Throne is…boring. There, I said it.  Even before the really annoying aspects come into play, the emotionless prose makes for a very dull read.  I have no idea who any of the characters are on a deep level, just shallow things that anyone with a pen can write about.  But the most annoying thing about this book is King Haikor of Rurik.  This villain has been given no depth, no dimension.  He is just a plot device bad guy, insulting half of his kingdom and poisoning the other half.  To say it’s excessive would be an understatement.

The romance is…not good.  The lack of feeling in the writing style makes it impossible to care about, and there was little to no build-up before the two characters were “in love”.  Kellin, the main romantic interest, is King Haikor’s polar opposite, overdone in his righteousness and willingness to sacrifice – though not quite­ as plot-device –y as the king.

The writing was decent, I’ll give it that.  Grammatically correct, good sentence structure, no run-on sentences or painfully overused words.  But the same can be said about Webster’s dictionary, and I’m pretty sure you’d find more enjoyment in those pages than in the pages of The Rose Throne.

I feel like the potential for a very good book was there, but The Rose Throne didn’t deliver on any of it.  If I didn’t have an OCD need to finish books, I doubt I’d have made it past page 50.  I kept hoping it would get better, but alas, it didn’t.

The Rose Throne - 2 out of 5 stars


  1. I love this: "Grammatically correct, good sentence structure, no run-on sentences or painfully overused words. But the same can be said about Webster’s dictionary, and I’m pretty sure you’d find more enjoyment in those pages than in the pages of The Rose Throne." Ha!

    I'm curious, why exactly did you give this two stars instead of one if the story was so boring and the characters so one-dimensional? I'm assuming it's because of the good grammar? Oh wait, I found your rating system. So it's just better than completely unreadable? :P Either way, not promising!

    1. Haha thanks! I was texting my friend about the book and made that dictionary joke, and I'm dorky enough to reuse it. :p

      Yeah, that's why the 2 stars. The technical writing was too good for one, and I usually round up instead of doing half stars for lesser-known books. If it were on a major publishing firm, I'd probably have given it 1.5 stars.

  2. If the grammar is all you can find to praise that is not good. To be honest from the synopsis, the book wouldn't be for me anyway. And that's before I consider weak characters, insta love, emotionless prose. Pass! Next!

    1. There was a very brief period toward the middle where it felt like it was picking up, but it only lasted like twenty pages before slipping back into a snore-fest again.

      It's not really my preferred genre, either. This is an example of me getting super excited on NetGalley. "Ooh! Free books! I WANT THEM ALL!" No matter how many times I resolve to show more restraint...nope. Ain't happening.


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