Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Serpent and the Rose by Kathleen Bryan

I finished my first book for the Once Upon a Time Challenge! Yay! Life has been in the way lately, but I am determined to reclaim my reading time, so hopefully this is the start of my reading year. The Once Upon a Time Challenge is the perfect chance to reclaim my reading because it is a genre that I love and that I would normally be reading anyways. So, one book down, at least four more to go.

The Serpent and the Rose by Kathleen Bryan
Completed March 22, 2008

Reason for Reading: Once Upon a Time Challenge.
Reason for Buying: The cover caught my attention.

Purchased in 2008.


The beautiful Averil is heir to the Duchy of Quitaine, in the Kingdom of
Lys.She is a powerful mage, trained by the Ladies of the Isle, but when her
father calls her home to take up her duties, she must leave that life behind.In
her city of Fontevrai, she meets Gereint, raised as a common villager but
greatly gifted in magic, a novice of the magical order of the Knights of the
Rose. The Knights and their sister order, the Ladies of the Isle, defend a great
secret: the means and location of the Serpent's imprisonment a thousand years
ago by the Young God in whose name their order was founded. Quitaine is under
subtle attack by the King of Lys, who has secretly become an adept of the hidden
order of the Serpent, and he will let nothing and no one stand in the way of his
quest to discover how to free his God.But the Knights of the Rose, and the
Ladies of the Isle believe that if the Serpent is freed, the world will be
enslaved to chaos:humanity will destroy itself, and all that man has made will
be corrupted. The War of the Rose and Serpent has begun again.

When I went to Ontario about a year ago, I saw this book at the bookstore and I had planned to look it up when I got home, but I forgot to. The other day I was in the bookstore and it caught my eye again, so this time I picked it up and brought it home with me. After paying, of course. I have not really been reading, so I was looking for something a bit different to capture my attention and hopefully rewake the reading mojo. I read this book in a day, so hopefully that is a good sign! I am a sucker for fantasy novels, which I am sure that most people know, but especially for ones that have a bit of a historical fiction feel to them. This one harkens back to medieval times, so it was just what I needed.

The Serpent and the Rose is the first book in The War of the Rose trilogy. It is not necessarily a new book concept. There is magic, forbidden love, a kingdom in trouble, and a heroine and hero that are setting up to save the day. These are ideas that you will find in most fantasy novels, but I believe that Bryan did it in such a way that she presented readers with a fresh storyline. It was an enjoyable read. Averil is the lead female character. She is not a damsel in distress by any regards. Her father had sent her away to the Ladies of the Isle, but he needs her back in the dukedom. She has been away her entire life, so it takes some getting used to and she does not exactly have the time to stop and catch her breath. The world is changing and she is soon going to find herself caught up in it.

The other main character is Gereint. He was raised by a mother that did not believe in magic, but he was becoming a very strong mage, so he eventually had to take matters in his own hands and travel down a road that would bring him and Averil together. They are connected by something so old that it has been forgotten. Until now, when they have reawoke it and brought it back into focus. They are joined together in a fight that still has two more books to come to fruitation.

I liked this book. It was not the best book I have ever read, but it captured my attention and held it. I am actually really interested in what is going to happen next. I think this is a very good first book in a trilogy, and I am very glad that I impulsively bought it. I look forward to book two!

I think Kathleen Bryan is Judith Tarr. Now, that is interesting... I wouldn't know from the book itself it I hadn't glanced at the copyright page to see what year this book came out in. So, Judith Tarr fans take notice!


  1. Look at you, already finishing a book for the challenge! :)
    Can't wait to hear about the other books you'll be reading!

  2. good review.. i'll check into this more!

    I am beginning to wonder if anyone ever writes a stand alone book anymore?? heh..well yaknow.. so we aren't always waiting ! lol

  3. About stand-alone books - publishers really are more interested in series, as they guarantee a built-in readership for the next releases. As a reader, I'm drawn to series because I love staying in fictional worlds once I've grown attached to them.

  4. This does sound very enjoyable!

  5. Wow - You are off to a great start by finishing a book in the challenge already. I can see why the cover caught your attention. It does mine, too.

  6. Long time lurker, first time poster. I'm glad to see you posting again.

    One question, how did you make your navigation buttons at the top? A while ago I changed my template, after being inspired by yours and would love to add some more lists that don't clutter up my front page.

  7. So glad you are striving to get the reading mojo back! I had to laugh because I certainly sensed a kindred spirit in the line:

    "Reason for Buying: The cover caught my attention."

    It does have a fantastic cover illustration. I am glad you enjoyed it even if it wasn't an overwhelmingly stellar read. That you are interested in the rest of the series at least speaks to its appeal.

    Welcome back!!! :)

  8. I like the cover also and the title. The story sounds interesting as well. I may have to add it to my TBR list. Thanks for the review.


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