The Black Rose
The Seven Stars Trilogy, Book #2
By James Bartholomeuz
ISBN# 9781605425375

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Jessa

*Beware of possible Spoilers*

Jack and Lucy’s adventure picks back up again as the two friends join the Apollonians and vow to aid them in their humanitarian cause.  They have traveled through another inter-dimensional portal to another world in their quest to find the Risa Star. As their quest to find Alex and defeat the Darkness once and for all continues, their journey introduces them to alien worlds that parallel their own. They must traverse an arctic mountain range, live in a city undergoing major industrialization, and survive in a forest where the population is literally part of the scenery. Unfortunately Jack, Lucy, and the Apollonians aren’t the only ones that want the Risa Star, and their opposing force, the Cult of Dionysus, doesn’t have the general population’s best interests in mind. The Cult draws ever closer to the completion of its super weapon and threatens the universe with mass destruction. Jack and Lucy must find the Risa Star first or innocent lives will be lost.

The Black Rose is a fun little fantasy story with the typical slew of goblins, elves, and dwarves. I think the genre has grown in popularity lately and I can’t complain about that. Unfortunately, everyone else is writing the same thing and to keep my interest, you need to bring something new to the table. Unfortunately, The Black Rose did not do this. I have heard complaints about the general writing style, but didn’t really see much to complain about other than it has the flavor of an author just getting started. I think we can expect good things from Bartholomeuz in the future once he finds his voice and begins to expand his style.  This book is typical beginner fantasy. It has the required fantasy creatures and ridiculous names. I still can’t say Apollonians out loud and figure out how to make that word sound right. It makes me feel like I’m somehow either missing letters/sounds or adding a couple extra syllables.

The biggest complaint I have about The Black Rose is that, if you read the first book in the series (The White Fox), the sequel comes off as a paraphrase of the first. I feel like nothing new or exciting was brought to the table. I didn’t feel as though the characters developed and the main plot just made me fall asleep. I really wanted to like this series, but the only semi-redeemable character is Inari and he simply doesn’t make enough appearances. Although that may be why I found him to be semi-redeemable, if he’d shown up more often, I think I would have tired of him quickly.

All in all, I can appreciate what the author seemed to want with this series and I believe he has potential. I’m hoping he improves and I’m crossing my fingers for any future titles. Although I admit that I’m already grimacing over the fact that The Black Rose is only #2 of a trilogy and there will be the inevitable book #3. I think readers in the 4th-7th grade range could probably read and enjoy this series, but anybody else… pass it on by and pick something else. This is definitely not something for avid fans of the fantasy genre.