When Carey Lee discovers that not only is she a witch but also part of a rebel order, she figures it can’t be any worse than the life from which she just escaped. Little is she prepared though for what lies ahead – an all-powerful empire and a murderous Empress, a seemingly impossible quest to rescue her family, and a power so dark that Carey begins to doubt her very existence.
Ok, so I was a bit worried when I started this book because the first chapter didn’t quite grab me, but on meeting Carey Lee properly in the next chapter I wanted to find out more about her story, and felt more engaged from then on. I really liked the idea of a lost girl and a secret rebel order, and cool magic. This has lots vibes of much loved stories, like Star Wars, and Harry Potter, and even a bit of an Enid Blyton twist (more on that below).
There is a lot going on in The Order of the Rose – I felt like the overarching plot took kind of a backseat to event after event of high drama. This reminded me a bit of something like the Enid Blyton books about the Faraway Tree, where there is a loose narrative but really the book relies on a number of consecutive adventures. Interestingly, there is a point toward the end of the book where Carey is thinking about how she had almost forgotten the aim of her quest with all of the other things that were happening, and I liked that this kind of mirrored my own feelings.
I found it a little bit tricky to place this book in time or geographically – it becomes evident someway into the story that it is taking place in Ireland, although I’m not entirely sure whether this is important. This wasn’t really a big deal for me, since I’m generally pretty happy to go along with what the author is telling me rather than worrying too much about specific details, but I do know some people can really be bugged by non-specific world building.
Towards the end of the book I was surprised to find how attached I had become to Carey and her crew – she is a really interesting character and I am really intrigued by the mysteries surrounding her family! I’m looking forward to learning more about her story in the next book.
I feel like The Order of the Rose is a promising start to the series, and I’m really keen to find out what happens next, and how Alysha continues to develop these characters. I’m also interested to see how Alysha’s writing has developed from this book (which I understand she started writing as a teen) to the next given there have been quite a few years in between.
The Order of the Rose by Alysha King
Source: Free copy provided by the author (thank you!)
Category: YA fantasy