e-ARC Review: Rebel Rose (The Queen’s Council #1)
Title: Rebel Rose (The Queen’s Council #1)
Author: Emma Theriault
Published: 10 November 2020
Format: e-ARC from Netgalley
Memorable Quote: “Fear was as much a motivator as hate. Fear made monsters out of men”.
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Synopsis (from Goodreads): “Happily ever after is only the beginning as Belle takes on the responsibility of becoming queen and learns to balance duty, love, and sacrifice, all while navigating dark political intrigue—and a touch of magic.
It’s 1789 and France is on the brink of revolution. Belle has finally broken the Enchantress’s curse, restoring the Beast to his human form and bringing life back to their castle in the province of Aveyon. But in Paris, the fires of change are burning, and it’s only a matter of time before the rebellion arrives on their doorstep.
Not so very long ago, Belle dreamed of leaving her provincial home for a life of adventure. But now she finds herself living in a palace, torn between her past as a commoner, and her future as royalty. While Belle grapples with her newfound position, there are those who would do anything to keep her from power.
When she stumbles across a magic mirror that holds a dire warning, Belle wants nothing more than to ignore the mysterious voice calling her to accept a crown she never desired. But violent factions of the revolution may already be lurking within her own castle, and doing nothing would endanger everything she holds dear. With the fate of her country, her love, and her life at stake, Belle must decide if she is ready to embrace her own strength–and the magic that ties her to so many female rulers before her–to become the queen she is meant to be.
Rebel Rose is the first in the Queen’s Council series, an empowering fairy tale reimagining of the Disney Princesses-and the real history behind their stories-like you’ve never seen before. “
I feel so whelmed after reading Rebel Rose. The idea of taking the stories of Disney Princesses and adding in real history sounds absolutely amazing! However, if the execution is off, then readers will be left feeling…..whelmed. Rebel Rose was neither over nor underwhelming… it just was.
I think young adult readers will enjoy reading about Belle in a historically correct setting. I know that I loved this, as it was an unique way to write about the French Revolution. The facts were there, the historical atmosphere was on point, and I could feel the tension rising in Paris as King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette picked the nobility over their suffering commoners.
However, the characters themselves were what prevented Rebel Rose from being a strong book that readers will devour. I think if the story had been pitched as a Beauty and the Beast inspired story or retelling would have made the book more enjoyable. The issue is that readers already have an idea of who Belle is. She is determined, highly intelligent, and does not have time for nonsense. In this story, however, Belle is uncertain, much more meek, and constantly reminds the reader that she does not want to be royal…..even though she married royalty.
On one hand, I can appreciate Belle’s determination to stay Belle rather than become Princess Belle. On the other hand, she has so many internal ramblings about this that it quickly becomes tiresome.
The other characters in the story were not brought to life in a way that really did them justice. Again, it is probably not fair to compare the book to the movie, but when ‘Disney Princess’ is in the synopsis, it’s pretty hard not to compare everything and everyone. Especially LeFou. Poor man will never be anything more than a minor plot device used to make other characters look really good.
The most interesting character was Bastien, but I can’t say or vent much about him without dropping some serious spoilers.
Although I did not see much chemistry between Belle and Lio (the Beast or Adam, if you will), I did like that the book tackled the issues that the couple would be facing after everything that happened before. Lio struggles with nightmares and feels as if he will always be a beast. Belle struggles with the fact that she was his prisoner until he let her go see her father. It was a good dose of reality that relationships take a lot of work, and that you can be very hurt by the people you love.
Overall, Rebel Rose was a great idea, but the execution was off, mostly because most readers will go into the book expecting to read about Disney’s Belle, since that is what is advertised. The historical backdrop, while magnificent, is not enough to make up for weakly written characters and far-some-subtle plot twists.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an early copy in exchange for an honest review.