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? (From Goodreads)
Best Bits: So what's really interesting about this one is the way that magic is woven into the book and creates a social commentary on gender equality. I don't think that this blurb does the book justice. Yes, there are two princesses, but their rivalry isn't really the main focus of the books. They are both in the same situation, trying to survive in a court ruled by a power-crazed king (Ailsbet's father). There are two types of magic in this book, taweyr (magic typically found in men) and neweyr (typically in women). The role that magic plays is similar to gender roles, women give life and are connected to nature and female elements via their magic, whereas taweyr can be used to enhance strength and give advantage in battle. Things get really interesting when ekhono (those born with magic opposite to their gender) come into play. Ailsbet's father believes they want to destroy his kingdom, so he hunts them and has them killed. Marissa's father is not as biased, and allows them to stay on their island. Honestly, I think that this could apply to any minority group. What is not understood is often feared, at the loss of society as a whole. The thing is, Harrison did a great job pulling that off. I loved pulling out little scenes, sentences, and plot points that I could apply to the world that we live in.
Nit Picks: So, part of my nitpick is that I think the blurb is a little misleading. The two girls are never really considering whether they can let the other live. Of course, they aren't best friends either. It makes it sound like they're mortal enemies, however, and that isn't what happens. My other nitpick is that the book didn't feel like it had an end. Granted, it is the first book in a series. Still, I expect to have some sort of resolution at the end of a book. In a series, that means that some portion of the plot must be tied up, while allowing me a glimpse of what I can expect in the next book. I didn't really get that in The Rose Throne, and so I finished it feeling unsatisfied.
The Rose Throne
By Mette Ivie Harrison
Published by EgmontUSA
Received for Review