Esme’s Indie Highlights/SPFBO: The Rose Crown by Catherine Glen

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This book was part of Fantasy Book Review’s grouping and has since been eliminated.

This book will appeal to people who prefer a lighter tone, and traditional fantasy themes.


Marian is the only woman in the army, and she fought hard to get there, but she gets a lot of flack from the men around her. She’s made it into the Rose Guard, which are the elite guardsmen who take care of the royal family.

Early in the book she attempts to stop an assassination attempt on the Kings life but was overcome by the assailant who has strange powers she’s never seen before. He implants something into her arm and tells her she now serves the Amarys, a strange cult not many people know about.

Henryk used to be a mercenary until he got roped into dealings with the Amarys. He’s stolen some pieces of The Rose Crown, an ancient crown of power used by a King in the past to rule over people via slaughter. If the pieces of the crown are put back together, they could be used again by someone who wants to rise to power, so he’s trying to keep the pieces secret.

The thing implanted in Marian was a piece of the Rose Crown and attempts to remove it have failed. She’s now connected to Henryk since he can feel where the other pieces of the crown are – they can sense each other’s feelings in a way. Henryk can tell that Marian isn’t lying when she said she doesn’t know what’s going on, because of their connection through the pieces.

Final Score: 7.5/10



  • Marian – She’s pretty willful and resilient which lead to what she accomplished in her life. She’s close with her commander, Bennet, and people spread rumors that their relationship is more than it appears. She tries to do what’s right even if it’s going against her Kings wishes. She’s good friends with the Princess, who wants to learn how to use a sword and defend herself. The King has explicitly forbidden this, but she does it anyway because she doesn’t want to see the Princess get hurt.
  • Henryk – He’s kind of surly and serious, but given what his life is like it’s not surprising. He spared Marian’s life in the beginning of the book. He sensed the Rose Crown piece implanted in her arm, and thought she was working for the Amarys, but went on a gut instinct to trust her.
  • Anselm Vieth – this guy is foul, he uses people and has a huge ego. He’s definitely a narcissist. Reading his chapters makes me cringe sometimes, but, it is interesting to see things from the villain POV. He’s got his own motives, and you don’t know what they are for a bit. AT one point he tries to blackmail Marian into betraying Henryk.

Final Score: 7.5/10

World Building:

  • King Francis Giehl, Queen Asa and their daughter, Princess Franziska rule over the island of Eiles. Overall he’s a decent King who has provided peace for his land for a long time. Princess Frankziska is rather down to earth and a decent person, being friends with her handmaiden and her fathers’ guardswoman.
  • The assassin has the ability to use magic, he turned the floor under him into a fire so hot that Marian couldn’t approach him during the assassination
  • The Rose Crown allowed King Araes to ascend to power, but he was eventually defeated by Prince Everard. The crown was broken and both men disappeared from history. Most people don’t think the Rose Crown actually exists. The pieces Henryk carries are almost alive in a way, sending him impressions of feelings like yearning or pleading.
  • The Amarys perform dark experiments on people, using them until death. Henryk was the only one in his group to survive.
  • People all over the city are disappearing, and no one knows why.
  • The Amary’s have the ability to control peoples minds and make them do things they don’t want to do
  • Marian is having visions, but she doesn’t know what about

Final Score: 7.5/10


This was a pretty quick book, it was medium length, 330 pages or so. There was a lot going on with the plot so things went smoothly and I didn’t feel any lag, and there def wasn’t any info dumps – the world was revealed slowly so it wasn’t overwhelming.

It was a lighter book, def not all doom and gloom and misery, which was a nice change of pace because I’ve read a lot of darker books recently.

Pacing Final Score: 8/10

Writing Final Score: 8/10



I’ve seen a bunch of this done before, but the characters were different enough and the world was different enough that it kept my interest

Final Score: 7/10


  • For people who like multi POV
  • For people who like female solider POV
  • For people who like traditional fantasy
  • For people who like lots of magic and mystery
  • For people who like stories about ancient relics of power


Total Final Score: 45.5/60 or 7.58/10 or 4 stars on goodreads


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