Book Review: Rose by Holly Webb

17822788Title: Rose

Author: Holly Webb

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy

Age Group: Middle Grade

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon, B&N

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The grand residence of the famous alchemist, Mr Fountain, is a world away from the dark orphanage Rose has left behind. For the house is positively overflowing with sparkling magic—she can feel it. And it’s not long before Rose realises that maybe, just maybe, she has a little bit of magic in her, too. . . .

The first book in an exciting, get-lost-in-the-world series about orphans, alchemy, magical powers and sinister child-catchers.

Rose was a magical, delightful, heartwarming read about a young orphan girl, Rose, who gets accepted as a maidservant in the household of a famous alchemist named Mr. Fountain. However, as soon as Rose arrives at her new residence, she figures some things aren’t quite as they seem. Staircases move on their own, the cat talks to her…Mr. Fountain’s student is convinced Rose has magical powers of her own, but all Rose wants is to be a loyal, respected maid – not an alchemist’s apprentice!

But when Rose’s best friend from the orphanage goes missing, she stumbles upon a sinister plot. Lots of children have disappeared during the last few weeks, and Rose is almost certain magic is involved. To stop the person kidnapping the children, she comes up with a daring plan, but she’ll have to rely on every ounce of magic she has to survive.

The setting is a historical, alternate version of Victorian England that I quite enjoyed. The magic ranges from Harry Potter like wand-waving to alchemy. Rose has an uncanny talent for magic, and that along with how she always seemed to do the right thing, even if she clearly did something wrong, made her kind of Mary Sue-ish. It would’ve been worse in a YA novel, but since this is MG, I’m willing to cut Rose a break. The other characters in this book are certainly delightful, ranging from the rest of the servants to a cooking cat, orphans and the peculiar Mr. Fountain.

The world building impressed me though. The world we enter when reading is vast, magical and different. It has a lot of layers and rules readers can quickly adapt to. Rose has to be insightful and smart to find her way out of tough situations, which is always a bonus. And well, there’s a talking cat. I love talking cats, so that’s another bonus for me.

The book isn’t out of the box different. There’s some tension between upper and lower class, some “deus ex machina” moments scattered throughout the book, a delightful cast of characters, and a plot that’s kind of familiar, but has original elements as well. It’s a great read, especially for middle graders, but it won’t be the next Harry Potter.


  1. […] ● Majanka @ I Heart Reading wrote “It’s a great read, especially for middle graders, but it won’t be the next Harry Potter.” (Read the rest of the review Here!) […]

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