Rosalyn Eves’ sequel to BLOOD ROSE REBELLION offers up a new point-of-view and fresh tension!
Anna Arden has broken The Binding, an ancient and cruel magic that subjugated ancient beings to give humans power, and dismantled the magical oversight organization known as The Circle in the process. Hungary has won autonomy in its uprising. But the problems threatening her world are still far from over.
Breaking The Binding released the Praetheria– the varied magical creatures with different forms, strengths, and abilities that once powered magic– back into society. It’s also drained powers from elite members of the Luminate and sparked powers among the working class. The Luminate are furious and ready to take their rage out on the person who broke The Binding… if only they knew who it was.
Now, Anna is in Vienna, Austria with her newlywed sister, trying to keep her head down. But as the Luminate begin to discriminate against and enslave the Praetheria, Anna must thrust aside polite politics and expectations of women in order to stand for the creatures during an international congress deciding their fate, earning the attention of Austrian royal Franz Joseph along the way. But every nation partaking in the council has their own plans in mind for the Praetheria, all of which seem to meld into their plans for the domination of Eastern Europe. On the eve of war, they don’t consider that the Praetheria may have plans of their own.
In a world in-between, Matyas has been given a second lease on life thanks to a Praetherian goddess. But in return, she wants him to become a hero. She says he’s destined to save the Praetheria through wartime and bring them to peace alongside humans, saving both species in the process. But Matyas has never considered himself a hero and he’s certainly not going to start doing so upon making his return to Hungary.
Lost Crow Conspiracy gains some speed on its predecessor, focusing on creating tension and suspense. The addition of Matyas’s point-of-view is massively helpful in this sense. Unfortunately, Anna’s story is remains pretty static for the majority of the story as she’s busy navigating politics and romance. Things seem to happen to her rather than because of her, which is a bit disappointing. I’d hoped she’d gain more agency after her massive assertion of power at the end of Blood Rose Rebellion. While she certainly has moments in which she shows off her skill, they’re reactionary. Meanwhile, Matyas strikes out on his own and joins an outlaw gang, reluctantly becoming a leader to his friends and Praetheria they meet along the way. It’s a much more fun and engaging storyline, and it helps you forget that Matyas was a bit of a dick in the early phases of book one.
The novel also does a great job truly introducing the Praetheria– their many forms, their personalities, and the moral ambiguities of their leaders (one of whom we’ve met before, another of whom is new and bone-chilling) that serve as a wildcard factor in the story.
Not all characters get a glow-up, however. Noemi and William, who were two of my favorites in the first novel, are criminally underutilized this time around. We also see very little of Anna’s love interest, Gabor. I wasn’t a huge fan of this relationship in Blood Rose Rebellion because I felt the story didn’t take enough time to build any real chemistry between them, and Lost Crow Conspiracy did the couple no additional favors by keeping them separated for all but a few quick scenes. Anna engages in witty banter and sweet courting moments with a character who was meant to be a lesser choice, but one I liked a lot more. If Anna is going to say “He’s just not Gabor” (which she does several times over,) then Gabor has to come off as the person who fits with Anna so much better than anyone else possibly could. And he doesn’t.
Lost Crow Conspiracy is a definite step up. It gives the series more action and intrigue. It connects with the main characters on a deeper level. But it sometimes struggles to find the balance between political warfare and tedious debate, it pushes side characters nearly out of view. Ultimately, the series is on the way to becoming a full-tilt action fantasy full of war and potential devastation in its final novel, so we’re going to stick around to see how to plays out.
RATING: 3.5 OUT OF 5 STARS
Lost Crow Conspiracy hits bookshelves today. You can order to via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Indiebound now.
Sixteen-year old Anna Arden was once just the magically barren girl from an elite Luminate family. Now she has broken the Binding—and Praetheria, the creatures held captive by the spell, wreak havoc across Europe. Lower-class citizens have access to magic for the first time, while other Luminates lose theirs forever. Austria and Hungary are at odds once more.
Anna Arden did not know breaking the Binding would break the world.
Anna thought the Praetheria were on her side, content and grateful to be free from the Binding. She thought her cousin Matyas’s blood sacrifice to the disarm the spell would bring peace, equality, justice. She thought her future looked like a society that would let her love a Romani boy, Gabor.
But with the Monarchy breathing down her neck and the Praetheria intimidating her at every turn, it seems the conspiracies have only just begun.
As threat of war sweeps the region, Anna quickly discovers she can’t solve everything on her own. Now there’s only one other person who might be able to save the country before war breaks out. The one person Anna was sure she’d never see again. A bandit. A fellow outlaw. A man known as the King of Crows. Matyas.