[ARC Review] The Ring and the Crown

Friday, April 04, 2014

Title: The Ring and the Crown
Author: Melissa De La Cruz
Series: The Ring and the Crown #1
Genre: YA, Fantasy, History, Magic
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Release Date: April 1st 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: ARC received by Publisher in exchange for an honest review

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Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve?

Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world's only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen.

But even with the aid of Emrys' magic, Eleanor's extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen's Guard.

Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie's face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she's always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she's always dreamed of--the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor's court: trust no one.

When I read a historical fantasy there are always certain things that I want to see, and those are great world building and great characters that not only you can relate to, but also ones that make you believe in what you are reading.

The Ring and the Crown had amazing world building, I loved that it was set in a historical time period but had elements of magic. I do really wish that there was more magic evolved in the story because while reading, those were my favorite parts. I loved that Merlin was a part of this story, although I really wish he had played a larger role overall. Sometimes I felt like he was only in the background and had no real stake in the overall story.

I have always loved stories that involve perspectives from more than one character because I love seeing the same story from the eyes of others because you get different perspectives on the same situation and usually that makes the story better. Unfortunately there were way too many characters in this book, at times I wish there was a character tree or something for reference so that I could keep track of who was related to who and who was marrying who. That would have been extremely helpful at times because I was confused for most of the book.

I also found that because there were so many characters that had their own narrative, I wasn't able to get to know each character to the degree that I am used to. I felt like I was just going with the flow and I did not have a stake in what happened to them. If one of them dies I wasn't sad, I really had no motion because I wasn't attached the character like i should have been. There were many love stories in this book, and my favorite part of reading a great love story is the lead up, because it is there that you get the tension and romance. But in this book there was no lead up at all, much of the romance and lead up were done off page and I really did not like that because I had no stake in who was with who and what happened to who. There was one particular part of the book that had me really upset, one of the female characters was having an affair with one of the boys, as a reader I could tell that he wasn't as into her as she was with him, and that was not only frustrating but seemed unnecessary. But the issue I had was there was a scene where the girl was with this boy and they were in the bedroom, he then gave her a tea of some sort and after a bit she could no longer move, and it was at this point that he decided to take advantage of her. And the part that really bothered me was that she was okay with it because she was in love with him. He pretty much raped her and it was as if it didn't happen at all. That was what really bother me.

Overall this book had many problems for me, I was expecting a lot more than what I received. I wanted to feel more for the characters and I wanted more magic overall.

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  1. I felt the same way about this book - if not a little bit extreme. There were just too many characters! And those quotes from pop songs?! What is up with that.