Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.
Her life might well be over.
In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.
As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romanies, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.
Review: This book took me absolutely forever to finish. I contemplated not finishing it so many times, but I pushed through because I have an arc of the second book from Netgalley. I loved the premise of this book… magic in Victorian times in both London, Austria, and Hungary? I’m sold! But ugh. I felt like it took forever to get to the point and climax of the novel. Anna wasn’t a very likable character. She seemed really whiny to me and she did the insta-love thing way too much. Towards the end of the book I really liked her as a character, but it shouldn’t have taken me that long to like the main character. I loved the side characters more! Gabor, Noemi, Matyas, even Anna’s grandmama were more likable than Anna was. The world building was great, but it took forever to build the foundation of this world – a world I still have a lot of questions about. If I didn’t have an arc of the second book, I wouldn’t be continuing with this series, but I do have some hope that the second book will be MUCH better than this first one.