Saturday, April 7, 2012
Review: Champion of the Rose (Darest #1) by Andrea K. Host
In a Word: adequate
Source: for free through Goodreads First Reads : D
Publication Date: November 2010
Short Summary (Goodreads): Soren Armitage is an anachronism. Proclaimed Rathen Champion by the Rathen Rose, intended to support the rule of a Rathen King or Queen.
But there are no Rathens.
Resigned to symbolising only Darest's faded glories, Soren is not prepared for the sudden appearance of a Rathen. Now she must find and support the heir despite the machinations of the kingdom's regent, sylvan curses, and the strange behaviour of once-dormant protective enchantments. While the odds seem stacked against her, Soren is determined to do her best to live up to the name of Rathen Champion. But what is she to do when it seems that there is something very wrong with her Rathen? Can she trust the person she is meant to protect?
My Review: Hmm, where to start with this book? The cover is well done, it's what first drew me to entering the drawing for this book. However, when I started reading it, things just didn't click. I got about 30 pages in and decided to move onto something else. Eventually, I decided to give it another try, got a few pages past where I got stopped before and actually fell more into the book. There were things that were holding me back from loving this completely, but it was good enough besides.
It does have an original premise, where as mages and elves, etc are common enough in fantasy fare, looking at things from the angle of an enchanted rose meant to protect and a champion to represent it, it was pretty engaging. Towards the end, as things started resolving, I found myself not quite following along all of the implications. There were a couple of paragraphs that summarized things nicely to were I then was able to understand, but at the outset it wasn't easily grasped.
The characters were good enough, Soren was an ok protagonist. I knew the characters enough to recognize them, but I didn't know them whole-heartedly like in some of my most favorite books. That being said, this was still better than a lot of other books that I have come across.
However, and please don't take this the wrong way but I do want to be truthful in my review, when I first started reading this I noticed that something was a little...different, and at first I couldn't put my finger on it. Eventually I recognized that it was the fact that everyone in this world is bi-sexual. That may be your thing, but it's not mine. I prefer my love stories to be the good ol' fashioned guy and girl fare and so was a bit thrown off by this one. The main love story does in fact turn out to be between a guy and a girl, which made it easier for me to read. There is nothing graphic at all, but there were undercurrents that I could feel, but at first could not pick up on entirely.
While the book does end of a sort, it didn't feel entirely like an END and looking it up there is actually a second one slated to come out later this year. Will I read it? Probably not. Was this one a waste of my time? No, I enjoyed it to an extent, and while there where times where I liked a certain description, or way of phrasing, I wasn't completely invested in the characters. I did want to read it to the end to see how things eventually resolved, but will probably not continue with it.
I hope this review makes sense. This book was good, and really may be your cup of tea. I didn't fall completely in love with it but it was good enough to keep me engaged throughout it and want to finish it, thus the three stars.