Champion of the Rose
Andrea K. Host, 2010
Premise: The land of Darest was taken by treaty from the Fae, and order is maintained by the magic of the Rose, established by the first Queen. Unfortunately, when the line of Rathen kings failed, the magic didn't notice, and it continued to choose Champions to protect a nonexistent royal line. Soren doesn't have any idea why the magic chose her, forced her, into the role of Champion, but now a bloom has appeared on the Rathen Rose. And that means a rightful heir is alive.
The part of this book I liked most was the character of Soren. Uneasy in her role, conflicted in her purpose, she always has to balance what she wants to do with what is right, what is her duty, and what the controlling magic of the Rose will actually allow her to do. Her struggles to fight and/or use the instincts of that blind force are deeply compelling.
The plot becomes complicated fairly quickly, and I don't want to give much away. I can say that the magic used in the book is interesting, and there are basicaly no infodumps. Both the political situation between the humans and the fae, and the fae themselves, are well handled. One warning, large aspects of the romantic plot are very dark. I wasn't totally satisfied with the resolution to that part of the story, but overall the plot was intriguing and the ending was strong.
Also, while it was never an issue, the norm among all the people in the book seemed to be bisexuality, and I thought that was pretty awesome.
A political and emotional story more than action-packed, Champion of the Rose is an enjoyable, worthwhile read.
3 Stars - A Good Book
Champion of the Rose is available on Amazon.com (ON SALE NOW!)