See more of my reviews at On The Nightstand! I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley.In a kingdom called Rurik lives the Princess Ailsbet, daughter of the cruel King Haikor. Haikor has decreed that taweyr, the magic of men, war and death, is more important than the magic of women, neweyr, which can grow plants and help livestock. Haikor keeps the taweyr strong in his kingdom while eliminating the neweyr, and his kingdom (and its inhabitants) are suffering for it. Ailsbet is unweyr, so she’s left to focus on her one passion: music. However, when she finds out that she may not be unweyr at all and learns of a prophecy that could save both Rurik and the distant kingdom of Weirland, she has to choose between avoiding her father’s wrath and keeping to her own passions, or possibly saving both the kingdoms and the magic in the land. Princess Marlissa (or Issa for short) lives in Weirland, and likewise has an interest in the prophecy. When the chance arrives for her to be able to make it come true, she decides with some reluctance to take it. Forced to live in a land with an overabundance of taweyr and little to no neweyr, which she has plenty of, Issa must learn to survive in the dangerous court of King Haikor while giving away no hint of her intention to bring both magics together again, as they once were. When I saw The Rose Throne up on NetGalley, I jumped on the chance to read it. Despite the fact that Harrison’s last venture (Tris & Izzy) wasn’t up to par, I remember loving her Princess and the Hound series when I read it a few years ago. I hoped I’d love The Rose Throne the same way. Alas, it was not meant to be. Harrison introduces a lot of interesting conflict in the second chapter, but she never delivers on it. I get that the book is a fantasy romance novel with a much heavier emphasis on the romance. But honestly, if you don’t intend to follow up with the consequences of what the characters did, maybe you should take out those elements altogether. When I finished the book, I literally sat there for a moment, thinking “That was it? That was your ending?”* Most of the interesting conflict and other elements are brushed over in favour of the romance. Sadly, that falls incredibly short as well. I did not care whether or not Issa and Kellin got together, or the drama surrounding how they could never be together. I was more interested in both girls finding some way to fulfill the prophecy, except that they never do. They take the prophecy at face value and don’t stop to consider that maybe there’s another way to read it. Therefore, most of the novel is just them standing around trying to avoid Haikor’s cruelty and survive in his court. That kind of tension can only carry a novel so far. There’s also a huge problem I’ve begun noticing in Harrison’s writing. She writes in a very detached, passive voice. There’s little to no internalization or introspection of events where the girls are concerned. A character close to Ailsbet dies, and she literally has one short paragraph dedicated to Ailsbet’s reaction to her death before Ailsbet goes off thinking about politics in the next paragraph. This character’s death is barely brought up again, and we don’t see Ailsbet’s emotions to it again either. Even if Ailsbet and this particular character weren’t overly close, I still think there should have been more of a reaction past a small cry. Therefore, I had trouble connecting to any of the characters or caring about their problems. If they apparently don’t care enough, why should I? Truthfully, I only kept reading to see how the prophecy would come into play and how Issa and Ailsbet would set things to right again. Sadly, that never happened, because it was apparently more important that we focus on Issa’s angst over never being with Kellin and the romance than attempting to save an entire kingdom. I’m not against flawed characters or even selfish characters, but Ailsbet and Issa never progress past what they are in the beginning. They stay stagnant and selfish, and it was bitterly disappointing to see them make the choices they do in the end. Overall, I wish I could have loved The Rose Throne. It had the bare bones of everything I love in a story, but the narrative choices that were made, the writing style and the characters kept me from liking it. I still have hope Harrison can recreate the magic that I saw in the Princess and the Hound series, but I’ll be more hesitant to try her works in the future. (MAJOR SPOILERS FOR ENDING UNDER CUT!!)In the ending, Issa brings some neweyr back to Rurik and then immediately leaves for Weirland again, after promising Kellin they’d be together one day. Ailsbet likewise leaves for another kingdom. Haikor still lives and both girls legitimately do not care that he will continue to make Rurik suffer after they’re gone, or that they’ve left the throne without an heir, or that Edik, Ailsbet’s thirteen year old brother, was killed by Haikor for standing up for his sister. But hey, who cares about a dead thirteen year old boy or a possible civil war when Issa has the possibility of getting together with Kellin one day, eh? Or that Ailsbet can focus solely on her music instead of taking up responsibility and doing something to save her kingdom? Clearly that’s not important at all.