'Blood Rose Rebellion' Is A Magical Tale Unlike Anything You've Read Before — EXCERPT

Much of young adult fantasy focuses on those characters who have the power to do wondrous things. But what about the characters who don't have powers or who can't do magic? In Blood Rose Rebellion, author Rosalyn Eves introduces readers to Anna Arden, an ordinary 16-year-old born to a family of extraordinary people. But just because she can't do magic doesn't mean she can't accomplish incredible things. Bustle has an exclusive excerpt from Blood Rose Rebellion , which you can read below.

Anna Arden is belongs to a family of powerful magicians, Luminates, but she is Barren, or unable to perform even the simplest of spells. She would do anything to fit in, but her plans go awry when she accidentally breaks her sister's debutante spell and finds herself exiled to Hungary, where her family is originally from. She thinks her life is over, but as it turns out, this is just the beginning. There, she meets her aloof cousin, Noémi, and the handsome Romani Gábor. There, she learns that has a magic all her own: she can break spells. When a rebellion breaks out, Anna's abilities become a hot commodity — and she's forced to make a choice that could change the world forever. Inspired by Hungarian folklore, Blood Rose Rebellion is a book unlike any other, and a must-read for 2017.

Blood Rose Rebellion, the first book in a new YA trilogy, will be available on March 28, 2017 from Knopf Books For Young Readers. Read an excerpt below:

London, April 1847

I did not set out to ruin my sister’s debut.

Indeed, there were any number of things I deliberately did not do that day.

I did not pray for rain as I knelt in the small chapel of our London town house that morning, the cold of the floor seeping into my bones. Instead, I listened to Mama’s petition for successful spells and sunshine. Peeking through my lashes at Catherine’s smug face, I yearned to ask for disquiet, disorder, and torrential downpours—calamitous words that might have eased, a little, the restless crawling in my heart. But I swallowed the words unsaid. Even should God heed such a treacherous prayer, my father would not. Though Papa’s weather magic would cost him a headache, my sister would dance under clear skies.

Peeking through my lashes at Catherine’s smug face, I yearned to ask for disquiet, disorder, and torrential downpours—calamitous words that might have eased, a little, the restless crawling in my heart. But I swallowed the words unsaid.

I did not argue with Catherine when she banned me from the ballroom where she and Papa laid the final grounding for her illusions while Mama supervised the servants. “You’ll break my concentration and spoil my spells,” she said, though it had been years since I had spoiled anyone’s spell, accidentally or otherwise.

But then I did not go to the schoolroom, where I was expected to improve my sketching while my brother, James, studied his Latin. Instead, I lingered (Mama would say loitered) in the lower hall, watching the servants scurry back and forth with their brooms and buckets and cleaning cloths, in feverish preparation for the ball. I did not rest, as Catherine did.

Because of those omissions, I was in the hallway when Lord Frederick Markson Worthing came calling. I heard Freddy’s signature knock—two short, three long—and my heart leapt.

Barton reached the door first and sent me a cross look down his long nose. He accepted a small white visiting card from Freddy, and I slipped into the open doorway.

“Lord Markson Worthing!” I smiled at him, remembering to use his formal name just in time. “Won’t you come in?”

I didn’t have to look at Barton to know his brows were lowering. Our butler disapproved of forwardness in general and me in particular.

Freddy returned my smile, his gloved hands tightening around the bouquet of roses he carried. “Thank you, Miss Anna. Only for a moment. I don’t want to leave my horses standing too long in this wind.”

Barton led us upstairs to the Green Drawing Room, so named for the ivy pattern sprawling across the wall and the deep emerald drapes. “I will notify your mother, Miss Anna.”

Freddy and I sat on matching high-backed chairs near the window. Freddy leaned toward me, nearly crushing the roses he held. He smelled of tobacco and cinnamon.

“I hoped I might see you.”

My face grew warm as I met Freddy’s intent gaze.

“I have something I want to say to you. Will you be at the ball tonight?”

“I am not yet out,” I reminded him. And Mama does not trust me around magic.

“Then meet me. In the herb garden, at midnight.”

The heat in my cheeks deepened. I rearranged my skirts, pretending a composure I did not feel. “Very well.”

“Good girl.” Freddy stood then and adjusted his top hat. “I must go.” He thrust the flowers at me, roses of a red so deep their centers were almost black. The petals spilled over my fingers like blood.

***

The ballroom was stiflingly hot after the garden, despite the rose-scented breezes that circulated. Tiny droplets of water, like so many winking jewels, hung suspended above our heads by Papa’s magic, joining and then separating in intricate patterns over the assembly.

Peering around a potted tree, I saw Catherine in her white gown at the heart of the room. My parents and grandmother were nearby, my father’s face flushed with wine, my mother’s pale with tension. Freddy strode forward to stand by my father, and Catherine’s face lit like a bonfire. As Catherine closed the distance between them and rested her hand on his arm, spikes of dread shot up and down my spine.

My father spoke. “Lords, ladies, exalted members of the Circle.” He nodded to a small cluster of men and women standing near my sister, tonight’s chosen representatives from the powerful coterie who governed Luminate magic. “Thank you for joining us. This is a momentous occasion. It is the night my daughter Catherine leaves behind her girlhood and becomes a woman, the night she becomes a full Luminate of the Elementalist order. I trust you shall be as dazzled by her debut spell as I have been all these years raising her.”

While Papa spoke, Catherine cast her eyes down to the floor and a becoming blush suffused her cheeks. I knew my sister well enough to suspect the blush was charmed. When Papa ceased speaking, Catherine lifted her head. She closed her eyes and began chanting. I couldn’t hear her words, but I could see the delicate gestures of hand and wrist as she laid her spell. The scent of roses intensified, and the lights in the room dimmed, all save a gradual brightening around my sister.

"This is a momentous occasion. It is the night my daughter Catherine leaves behind her girlhood and becomes a woman, the night she becomes a full Luminate of the Elementalist order. I trust you shall be as dazzled by her debut spell as I have been all these years raising her.”

Catherine opened her eyes, and her illusion began to coalesce around her. Like Papa, Catherine was an Elementalist capable of manipulating wind, water, light, and fire. As her ability to manipulate light was particularly strong, illusions showed her skills to advantage. She’d taken roses as her illusion motif: the air behind her shimmered with giant roses, a tapestry superimposed upon the air. Before her, a steadily increasing glow became a tableau: a beautiful golden-haired maiden, asleep on a bed, a bower of thorny roses surrounding her. I deemed the Sleeping Beauty an obvious choice, but it pleased the crowd. I heard gasps from ladies standing near me, and then a ripple of applause ran through the audience.

Another illusion joined the tableau: a young knight who rode toward the maiden, only to be ensnared by the roses. The knight faded away, the faintest hint of a skull hanging in the air to mark his passing. I waited, wondering how Catherine would conjure the young prince who finally rescued the maiden.

More gasps, then laughter. I couldn’t see, at first, what the focus was. I scanned Catherine’s face, and then my family behind her. Finally, my gaze fell on Freddy, and fear ran cold fingers down my neck. This illusion was not all empty air and light. Catherine had drawn a crown on Freddy’s head and placed a gleaming sword in his hand. When Freddy, at the urging of the crowd, stepped forward to the tableau, the thorns fell away from his sword.

My sister had made Freddy a part of her performance. With all the care Catherine had taken for her spells, there could be nothing impromptu about this. She had planned for it.

Practiced it.

My sister had made Freddy a part of her performance. With all the care Catherine had taken for her spells, there could be nothing impromptu about this. She had planned for it.

Something snapped in me. As the maiden in the tableau opened her eyes and raised herself toward Freddy, I opened my mouth and shouted, a wordless cry that filled the entire hall. Fury pulsed through my blood, seeming to catch at the very air around me.

A thunderclap of silence followed in the wake of my shout.

Then pandemonium.

Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves, $11, Amazon

Excerpt copyright © 2017 by Rosalyn Eves. Published by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.