Cover Image: Queen of Roses

Queen of Roses

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Briar Boleyn is the pen name of established historical romance author Fenna Edgewood. This is her romantasy debut. Loosely inspired by Arthurian legends, Queen of Roses follows a 20 year old Morgan le Fay, and while other familiar names may pop up, their characterizations are new and surprising. I am sometimes a bit leery of romantasy, where the plot can sometimes be secondary to the spice, but this book definitely falls on the fantasy side of the binary. This is a dark story, and definitely a slowburn as the main characters of this book don't get together in this book. I liked this. a lot, excited to read the rest of the series.

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Queen of Roses is the first book in the Blood of a Fae series, a retelling of the story of King Arthur, his knights, and all the others in the legend, in a magical context with many of the characters re-imagined.

At first I was a little confused with the different re-imaginings of the characters but once I looked past it, I was pulled into the world. I love the way the author has developed the plot, the world and the characters, bringing in so many different adventures and dynamics among the characters. Honestly, I was not a fan of Arthur as a character in this book and found Morgan to be a little annoying at first. I loved how Lancelet and Galahad are depicted and their relationship with Morgan.

I started to enjoy the book a few chapters in and could not stop reading until the very end. The ending of the book with the most unexpected twists and turns culminated in an amazing climax, setting up the tone and direction of the next book. At this point, I knew that I was truly hooked and would definitely find my way through the series, following Morgan as she discovered herself, the extent of her powers, and becomes the leader she was born to be (I hope!)

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First of all a thank you to NetGalley and the authors for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is a dark romantasy inspired by tales of Camelot and King Arthur, with a focus on Arthur's Sister Morgan Le Fay.

This book series has an extreme slow burn, in that the characters who seem to be intended to be a couple do not get together in this book.

The author is excellent at writing the villains in a way that makes you absolutely hate them. Scenes with Arthur and Florian left me seething.

I did predict the plot twist, but that isn't to say it was obvious. Morgan is a conflicting mc, she frustrated me in places. Loved the dynamic between her and Draven. Draven was a great mmc. I look forward to reading book 2.

Would recommend for lovers of TOG and ACOTAR, as well as anything written by Nisha J. Tuli, but also, please check the CW before reading.

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Sadly, I am actually DNFing this book and have no interest in reading the rest of the series. I was super excited to read them too. Her name is amazing. The premise sounds amazing. The covers are amazing.

But this was not amazing. It was extremely hard to get into and her writing was quite choppy. I didn't once feel pulled into this book. I DNF'd at 15% and I thought I would come back. I honestly thought it was a mood reading thing but it was actually a book thing.

Because I had expected to absolutely love this, I had requested the whole series, so I will be copying/pasting this review into all three, so I don't look my high percentage.

I am so sorry. I wanted to love these.

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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Liked and recommend it!
Spice level: 🌶️🌶️ Some sexual tension, 1-2 scenes
Format: eBook

🌹 Queen of Roses is a story about Morgan Pendragon. She witnessed the death of her mother when she was 5, and when her father also later died, she was the eldest heir meant to be Queen. However, her father saw to it that she was relegated from the throne out of shame for being a half-fae Princess. Instead, her brother took the throne and became King Arthur of Camelot.

✴️ What I liked:

~ Wow, what a beginning! Both the prologue and the first chapter are engaging and suck you in right from the start! Also, the ending is 🔥🔥🔥!

~ The world-building and adventure in this story is incredibly captivating! I was completely engrossed in following the journey with these characters.

~ The interest growing between enemies-to-lovers Kairos Draven and Morgan is intriguing.

~ I love, love, LOVE that there are female knights! And especially a female side kick named Lancelet who likes girls. 💪🏳️‍🌈

~ “Is it really so much better to think ourselves superior to the people we are supposed to be serving?”
I love the empathy the FMC Morgan feels towards citizens and that she joins a group of hunters in secret to help those struggling to provide food for their families. The care she feels towards others is a twist to how King Arthur is portrayed in this story.

✴️ What didn't work for me:

~ I was hoping the FMC would be developed as a strong female. Perhaps she will find herself and become stronger as the series progresses, but in this first book her character is portrayed as:

‼️ Possible spoilers ‼️
- Reckless and makes poor decisions (e.g. going into a dark alley alone, going into her room with the door left wide open and still drinking out of the goblet, etc).
- Surprised by things that have already been mentioned and she should know about (e.g. she was told her mother drank the same potion as her but gasped in surprise when her uncle told her the very same thing, knowing that Florian was planning to ask Arthur to make her his wife but yet acted like she didn't know about it when Arthur told her that she had a marriage prospect).
- Weak and subservient to men. She fights back some (e.g. following the attack by Florian), but still continues to do as men tell her, even when it causes her great harm (e.g. taking a double dose of medicine when it almost killed her). I do like that later on in the story she didn't listen to the MMC Draven and bought the mask anyhow, finally allowing herself to be free.

✴️ Final thoughts:

"My name was on his lips as he promised unspeakable darkness to any who came between us."

This is my favorite quote from the story, and I absolutely cannot wait to see where the rest of the adventures with Morgan and Draven will take us!

The fourth and final book in this series was just released on 3/31/24.

Thank you to Victory Editing Netgalley Co-op for allowing me the opportunity to review. All opinions are my own.

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Read the 3 books in this series in only a few days. I really liked the characters and the story line.

Review to come soon

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I devoured this book. I loved the characters and the story.
It was very well done. Writing style was something that I enjoyed.  I love romantasy genre and this didn't disappoint.

Can't wait to read next book!

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I love Arthurian legends, slow burns, and fantasy so this was exactly up my street! A really entertaining read, with a refreshing feel to it. Definitely will look out for the next book!

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If you love a historical retelling within a magical world I highly recommend reading the Queen of Roses series!
I was hooked as soon as I started this book and fell in love with the characters and the story telling!
I loved it that much that I'm already (im)patiently waiting for the latest book after powering through all 3 books out so far 😅
Have you read this incredible magical retelling of King Arthur?! 💭📚

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You know what, I was adamant I was going to try not reading as many Fae romances this year. I must thank NetGalley and Starwater Press for dragging me back into this genre of romantasy as I binged three books in 2 days and honestly i haven't recovered.

queen of roses was a fantastic opening to the series. It has so much going for it. brilliant premise, grand potential and honestly I lived up to it. I have seen a lot on Kindle unlimited that are seen as Fae based retellings, and read so many that just didn't hit the mark. But a Camelot/legend of Arthur Fae based book? Ok you win as I have not seen anything similar yet personally and after this I want more.
The worldbuilding is one of the best I have seen in a long while and it kept me captivated in the world.
I loved most of the characters, some did annoy me and my goodness the romance was possibly my biggest annoyance but not because of the writing style, which was actually delightful, but because....and i should have seen this coming into the story, I'm not a fan of love triangles and Arthurian legends are full of them so that's on me.

I will however review the next two books which I have read. Overall it's a great start to the series and I'm so glad I decided to give it a shot!

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I really enjoyed this book! It was an entertaining and relatively quick read that definitely has me wanting to keep going with the series!

Things I enjoyed: strong and intelligent FMC doing her best in a world has never given her a chance, dark and dangerous MMC, slow burn (and I mean slow), close friendships, magical world that is well built out, high stakes and moral dilemmas.

Things I didn't enjoy as much: book starts off a bit too slow such that you can tell it was always meant to be drawn out over multiple books and isn't great single book pacing (but lots of worldbuilding, which does help), sometimes the villains seemed a bit too much and their motivations were kind of confusing at times (like why are they so intensely evil).

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I like the characters and the story, though I don't like the setting - I can't see, why it has to be a retelling of Arthur and Camelot. The LQBTQ+ friendly, women empowered setting would have been cool in a new story but taking one of the most famous tales makes it seem a bit forced.
Yet the general story is good, although a bit slow.

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I wish there was a half star rating button, because I would give this one 4.5 stars. This is one of the most fun and beautiful romantasy books I've encountered in quite a while. I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did, but wow! Morgan's story begins with such tragedy, and despite being a princess, there really isn't much joy to be found in her life. Then, she is tasked to go on this quest to get an object with a handsome guard, Draven, who seems to have secrets of his own. More characters are added along the way, and many questions are still unanswered, which makes this a very interesting and complex fantasy you will not soon forget. I cannot wait to read the next one to find out what happens to these characters! ...and by the way, nothing happens the way you think it will. ;) Enjoy!

Check your TWs before you read this book!

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The Queen of Roses tells the story of Morgan Pendragon. She holds the title of princess of Camelot. She is a firstborn and the rightful Queen, but her right to inherit the throne is denied because her mother is a fae. Arthur, her brother, was chosen as the king instead. Whereas she would be dedicated to the Temple of the Three Sisters upon reaching her twenty-first birthday. One day, King Arthur instructed her to travel to a distant and unexplored location. A location that is not even mapped. She set off without knowing the actual mission, with just two guards accompanying her.

The book is a loose retelling of King Arthur and Camelot that incorporates elements of the fae world. It has quite a fast pace in narrative, but at some point the plot feels dragged. The world-building was excellent, and I feel that it has a solid foundation for the upcoming sequels.

I see a lot of potential in the character's development. Although the plot is predictable, I have a good understanding of Morgan's character. She had to deal with both the trauma of her mother's death and the cruel people around her. Morgan's love interest's unexpected turn was shocking, but the wrong thing about it was also predictable.

There are still many mysteries surrounding the ending, as there are sequels following. It excites me enough to read the sequels. I have high hopes that the next book will be better!

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I thought this was good! It had a good plot and characters that I actually liked. I felt there was a little bit of confusing plot holes here and there but it was good!

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“She was everything beautiful, everything good. She was all I knew of that mystical emotion called love.”
This was everything I hope it would be. I really enjoyed the twist on the King Arthur legend. All my favorite things in a book, enemies to lovers, slow burn, a little spice. I loved the adventure, action, and character development. I'm seated for the sequel!

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This book was a really good read and the world building and cliffhanger were an amazing start to the series. Morgan was a great female main character and this book was a good start to her character development I felt. Draven was such a fantastic edition also, I loved his character.

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Queen of roses follows Morgan Pendragon, sister of King Arthur, who is rumoured to have fae blood. Morgan is treated as an outcast and promised to the goddesses once she comes of age. When Arthur orders she go on a dangerous journey to obtain a fae relic that may not even exist, Morgan takes the chance to see the world before her fate is sealed.

I gave this book 3.5 ⭐️. I really wanted to love this book. At its core, it is everything I should love. Fae, mythological retelling, romantasy, a dark and broody MMC. But this book took forever to get into. The first 50% is mostly world building, with excessive detailing and too much focus on court politics. While it does try to set up the family structure and the world building, it does so in a way that takes far too long to get to the point. However, at around the 50% mark, the book completely changes. The main plot begins, the excessive detail tapers off, and it becomes an intriguing and more polished story.

This book features:
- Dark broody MMC
- Fae
- Long journey
- Court politics
- Hidden powers
- Mythical creatures

While this book was laborious getting into the main plot, once it got there this book was twisting and exciting. I cannot wait to start book 2 and continue with Morgan’s story

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Queen of Roses is a great fit for readers who enjoy slow-burn romantic fantasies with a touch of danger, featuring morally gray characters and fae lore.

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Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for this book! I throughly enjoyed reading and can’t wait to start the next one!

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