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The Serpent and the Rose

(War of the Rose #1)

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  428 ratings  ·  63 reviews
The beautiful Averil is heir to the Duchy of Quitaine, in the Kingdom of Lys. She is a powerful mage, trained by the Ladies of the Isle, but when her father calls her home to take up her duties, she must leave that life behind. In her city of Fontevrai, she meets Gereint, raised as a common villager but greatly gifted in magic, a novice of the magical order of the Knights ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 6th 2007 by Tor Books
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Average rating 3.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  428 ratings  ·  63 reviews

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In the beginning everything was darkness and chaos and wild magic that ran rampant and the Serpent spread its evil and destruction to all corners of the world. Then the Young God came and with him his faithful knights and ladies. He struck down the Serpent though he died in the attempt and his knights and ladies bound the Serpent for all time so its power could never corrupt the world again. They contained the magic and free spirits of the world and bound them under a strict order of closely kep ...more
Dec 14, 2009 rated it it was ok
Gereient is the humble but magically gifted farmboy. Averil is the astoundingly beautiful but kind and humble lady, raised by nuns because her father couldn't bear to look at the reminder of his late wife. They each belong to allied noble orders (the Knights of the Rose and the Ladies of the Isle), and eventually they will meet and fall in love. Their love will undoubtedly be tested by the difference in their social stations and the Darkness Sweeping the Land. I don't know, however, because I ga ...more
Nov 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
A fatherless farmboy with a dangerous talent for magic meets a down-to-earth noble girl while their dutchy, deep in the heart of Fantasy Europe, is threatened by an evil king.

A story built so heavily on generic fantasy conventions isn't necessarily the worst thing, but if a book piles on the tropes then its characters have to be compelling enough to distinguish them from every other "commoner knight" and "hidden heiress" around. Since this set of protagonists is every bit as well-wor
Dec 28, 2007 rated it it was ok
I picked up The Serpent and the Rose on a whim at the library and read it in an evening; it's a short 300 pages in its trade paperback format. The book is copyrighted to Judith Tarr, so I imagine Kathleen Bryan is a pseudonym... which makes all the editorial reviews about Bryan's debut novel a bit ironic.

I enjoyed the book enough to finish it, though it took some effort at the end. It felt like another plot-driven rather than character-driven story. Terrible things happen, but the charac
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
"All she had to fight this was a pretty pendant on a silver chain, a godborn boy who had been raised a farmer and such magic as she could muster.
'You have more than that,' Gaereint said, riding in her thoughts as he had ridden in her dreams. 'You have yourself.'"

'The Serpent and the Rose' is the first of a trilogy authored by Kathleen Bryan (although I think that is a pseudonym). It centers around a boy named Gereint and an heir to a duchy named Averil. It very much has a classic fantasy feel and e
Stephanie Kidwell
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
No fluffery in this book. It is concise and contained, but allows the imagination to wander into the beautiful world. Can't wait to read the next book.
Shazza Maddog
Sep 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Gereint is a young man who has been hidden from the mage finders by his mother, for his whole life. Averil is the duchess of Quitaine, and was raised on the Isle, a priory where she is taught magic, and how to control it and herself. When Averil's father calls her back from the Isle, and Gereint meets a group of Knights of the Order of the Rose, both of them realize that their lives are going to change.

It isn't only their lives that are about to be changed - an evil in the land is trying to rai
Feb 20, 2008 rated it it was ok
I realize that I love fantasy. This book has some very interesting parallels to Christianity and LDS doctrines, however I haven't decided whether it's intentional or a mockery of Christian traditions. Anyway, I generally like the storyline but it's almost too drawn out. I think the book would be much better if there was less telling and more description through subtle imagery. I don't like being TOLD that there's magic--describe it another way that makes me feel the magic and invites me to call ...more
Mar 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
It's been a while since I read a new fantasy series that I so thoroughly enjoyed. This book is what I think of as true fantasy: magic,foreign lands, evil magicians, power-hungry kings. However, it is labled as the first in the new epic trilogy, and it does not end in a mice wrapped-up place. I am now anxiously awaiting the next installment.
Aug 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book was good. However, I read it on the heels of the "Magic Study" trilogy and there were several similarities and so I couldn't truly credit Ms. Bryan with a truly original story. The characters did come to life and the pacing was good enough to keep me turning the pages as quickly as possible.
L.M. Ransom
Feb 14, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who loves a rousing high fantasy tale
Hey, I just finished "The Serpent and the Rose." It was really good, but it took me awhile to get into the high fantasy. I loved all the "wild" magic Ms. Bryan talked about. I think having the outlawed magic really made the story.
And Gereint, the male main character, was excellent. Very protective and very sweet...what's not to like?
I will definitely be reading the sequels.
Feb 19, 2008 rated it did not like it
I will admit, I didn't actually finish this book. And to be honest, I didn't even give it a fair shot. I think I read 5 or 6 pages, but it was all I could stomach. I just couldn't force myself to read anymore. Sorry, I know that doesn't count as having "read" it.
May 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A secret society of knights and magical deviants in a battle over the human soul! Staring a strong willed heroin out to save the land she loves while being faithfully pursued by her forbidden lover. A suspenseful adventure and a good read!
May 04, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

I didn't dislike this book but I honestly do hate how little happen in it. I don't want to be completely rude but for an honest review, this book could be trimmed down to 50 pages or less. Much of the book is spent on "what if" from the heroine. What she should be doing. What she wants to do. What she hesistates to do. What she promises to do. What she doesn't want to do. What she thinks she will do. What she bla bla bla and fucking more bla.

I stuck with this book and hoped the ending will give so

Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book...and that was before I realized that it is Judith Tarr, one of my favorite authors, writing under another name. The story takes place in a fantasy kingdom called Quitaine (think Aquitaine) and the heroine is Averil. Averil is heir to Quitaine and her father the duke is dying, having been mysteriously possessed by a strange illness. It turns out that there are ancient gods and evil royalty who would like to release them, and destroy the balance and order that has exist ...more
May 18, 2010 rated it liked it
Unfortunately, Kathleen Bryan writes like an amateur. She uses the word "said" constantly with out any other form of the word. For instance, Averil, the main female character, will say something and the sentence will end with "...Averil said." Instead of Averil rebuked, confirmed, ranted, etc. Sure once or twice Bryan will write asked or replied, but more often than not a character only said something. The emotion is within the words and situation, but still a word other than "said" would be nic ...more
Jan 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
2.5 stars. I found this book to be incredibly frustrating. The premise is fascinating, featuring a world in which the Christian narrative is mixed with magic. The Serpent is the force of chaos in the world, and the "Young God," very much a Jesus figure, has locked him away. Now, many years later, a cult attempts to wake the Serpent, and it is up to two young people, one a devotee of the church and one as wild as can be, to stop them.

The problem is that the characters fall incredibly
May 04, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
This was a good fast read. Pretty short. A little contrived at times, and somewhat overt in its lifting from the Judeo-Christian theology. But overall well written. I liked the main characters, enough that sometimes I felt like throttling them for their actions. There's magic aplenty, if not quite explained. The concept of using glass to store magic is interesting. There is contact with gods, almost-understandable evil, suitable creepiness, and unrequited love. Something will happen to these cha ...more
Lisa B
Sep 11, 2011 rated it liked it
This is the first fantasy book I have ever really read. (Well unless you count The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings) It was pretty easy to follow even though there was oodles of magic mentioned. The ending just dropped off, but that is to be expected I guess when there is a book 2. (view spoiler) ...more
Patrick Burgess
Sep 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Not Very Original, Good Read Anyway

I'm kinda turned off by faux-Medieval alternate-historical-Earth fantasy just because that stuff never really interested me like ever. I mean, yeah, okay, I went through that whole King Arthur and the Knights of the yada yada, but I got over it quick. Thankfully, The Serpent and the Rose is tweaked enough that it's wistfully familiar, not over-bearingly so. Good!

So, it's pretty entertaining, a little bit skimpy on connecting the plot-dots with solid
Mar 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Kristen by: My daughter liked the horse picture on the cover.
I thought the story was interesting, and I enjoyed the character development. However, I thought the overall plot was lacking in this novel. There was no strong conflict that was resolved. I understand that it's part of a trilogy, but this portion was very anti-climatic.

The mythology of the book combines Christianity with magic, which was a little weird to me.

The author jumps right into the story, and the mythology isn't explained until later, so I felt a little like I had been just
Sep 30, 2009 rated it it was ok
This fantasy wasn't as good as The Name of the Wind or The Silver Ship and the Sea. Since I read those recently, I couldn't help comparing the three books. This one is medieval (kind of) and the princess has been with the nuns learning magic. A farmer boy has great magic but his mother wants him to stay on the farm. The two eventually meet and discover that together they have great power. They are attracted to each other, too, but won't do anything about it because society has no. She is a princ ...more
This is the first book of the series. It was interesting enough that I decided to finish the series. I did not like the conclusion. It was not really clear what was going on but there are many places in the book where the writer does not quite make it clear what she is seeing in her mind's eye. All in all it was a good read. I feel like the two main characters were well developed although there are times when they got on my nerves. It is a good book for young adults not just because the characte ...more
Dec 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Fairly standard epic fantasy--ancient evil rising, farmboy with great power and more skilled (but less powerful) female romantic interest to save the day. I found the setting and plot reasonably entertaining, but it didn't set itself sufficiently apart for me.

Kathleen Bryan is a pseudonym for Judith Tarr, so I was expecting something more.
I'm rather partial to heroes that aren't seriously angst ridden. Honourable, insecure and obstacle attractors but not depressed or evil (don't get me wrong, I love those characters too), they are just easy to like and root for.
Combine that with a curious and beautiful magic system, a determined heroine and a bitter, destructive king and you have a very enjoyable fantasy story.
Jul 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The Serpent and the Rose is a fairly forgettable, but still enjoyable, high fantasy. It's set in a European medieval-style world with lots of magic and Christian parallels and a romance between a farm boy and a young duchess. If that sounds appealing to you, you will probably like this book; if not, seek on. This is the first (and best, in my opinion) in a trilogy.
Jan 28, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy-asst
Decent fatasy book. I liked the magic element and how it works in this world, I also liked the political dynamics. I was not fond of some of the charater dynamics, but am willing to give book 2 a shot when it comes out in March
Mar 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
There were a lot of parallels between the religion of this fictitious world and Christianity. Although this was not a Christian book, I'll bet the author is. I really enjoyed this fantasy. I can't wait to see how the story continues!
Mar 08, 2012 rated it liked it
It started off a little slow, and the characterization is not the best. Once the book picked up momentum, it was ok. The story line is interesting enough that I picked up the series from the library just to see what happens.
Apr 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
This a great tale with some of our fairytales mixed in to make one great read. This is a story of boy full of wild magic and exiled princess who come together to save a her kingdom from her wicked uncle the king. Fun and excitement await you in this book.
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A pseudonym used by Judith Tarr.

Other books in the series

War of the Rose (3 books)
  • The Golden Rose (War of the Rose, #2)
  • The Last Paladin (War of the Rose, #3)
“For better or worse, he was bound to this body until someone or something else released the binding.” 3 likes
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