Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
Release Date: March 19, 2019
Publisher: Knopf Books For Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy / Historical
The Binding is broken. Mátyás is alive. And Anna Arden is on the run.
It seems, yet again, that breaking the Binding has shattered the world. And the only hope of mending it is Anna and Mátyás, working together. But it’s never that simple, is it? The praetheria, the creatures once held captive by the spell, are now waging war against the Austro-Hungarian empire. And they are holding Noémi hostage—using her life to manipulate Anna and Mátyás, like marionettes on a string.
Gábor has elected to stay behind, to fight in the Hungarian army’s resistance, while Anna and Mátyás search for their beloved Noémi—a mission doomed from the start, cloaked in praetherian magic. Magic that relies on illusion and misdirection. Eventually, there’s only one way to save her: to split up. And to walk right into the lion’s den.
When everyone thinks they’re fighting each other for the same thing—freedom—can anyone truly win?
Story Locale: Eastern Europe/Austria & Hungary
Winter War Awakening is the third and final installment in author Rosalyn Eves Blood Rose Rebellion. Austria, 1848, 2 months ago, Anna Arden's cousin Noémi disappeared in Vienna. Today, Anna, who has (2) souls, is a fugitive after breaking the binding spell containing the praetheria. The praetheria, creatures who were once held by a binding spell that Anna broke, are now waging a war against Austro-Hungarian. To make things even worse, Anna left Gábor behind in Buda-Pest to join the Hungarian rebels as she and Mátyás attempt to find and save Noémi.
Unlike the first two books of the series, this finale takes us out of the city and into the bleak but riveting caves that line the Eastern European countryside and mountain ranges during on the of the harshest winters Austria and Hungary have ever known. Both Anna and Mátyás are used to tell this story. Both have mighty struggles. While Anna is being betrayed, sold to the enemies, and used by her own blood in order to help the praetheria, Mátyás is trying to come to terms with his rise from the dead, and his new shifting abilities that really put a target on his back. Anna, who has the twin souls of both a human and a praetheria, struggles to choose a side, especially when her own blood is punishing her to choose or die.
The best part of this story were the connections that Anna has made along the way. Some not so friendly, some come to understand what she is fighting for, and some who are a surprising mix of badass. Hunger struggles with shifting loyalties and complicated feelings towards Anna's cousin Noemi. Emlijia is the daughter of a Croatian General who finds that she has her own path even if that means being Anna's ally. The liderc is one of Anna's allies and a praetheria who actually rises up against the leader of her supposed people. Gabor, well, he made a hard choice to fight a war while Anna is trying to save it. He and Anna want to be together, but their cultures and social statuses clash at every turn.
If you are a fan of Historical Fiction, you will catch on quickly to this world, especially if you've read European history. Part of this story is the real historical Hungarian Revolution for Independence of 1848 and the real life Franz Joseph as well as other key figures. It is fair to say that war is the powerful motivation driving every character in this book and thus it is dark, bloody, and characters do die. I am actually OK with characters dying as long as it is part of the overall situation and not just because it's easy to write someone out of the story. One is supposed to have feelings for the praetheria, but one shouldn't just ignore the bloodshed and violence committed in the name of creating your own country.