The Ring and the Crown
author : melissa de la cruz
pages : [hardcover] 384
memorable quote : You are young still, Sister Myrddyn, but one day you will learn that a false victory is a hollow one.
favorite characters : gill & marie
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.
I tried to read Melissa de la Cruz’s Blue Bloods series a long time ago but couldn’t get through the first book. I have to admit that first I was attracted to this gorgeous cover, then I wanted to see what the story was about. I’m trying to get outside the box with my reading lately and this is nothing nothing I’ve ever picked up before. It’s like an alternate historical fantasy, with tons of drama and intrigue. While Cruz’s dramatic flair didn’t work for me with her other book, I loved it in this one. I absolutely never knew what was going to happen next and couldn’t predict how the novel would end.
There are a lot of characters involved in The Ring and the Crown and in the beginning it can get to be very confusing. Every chapter focuses on a different character but there is nothing helpful like the character’s name in the chapter header to let you know who is going to have the main viewpoint. That is one annoyance I had, having to read on-tempted to skip ahead a little-until I realized who had the focus and where they were in the novel. But I loved the characters enough not to be too angry; there wasn’t a specific character that I enjoyed reading about more than the others. I didn’t want to skip any chapters. I feel like the storylines progressed so quickly I didn’t have time to miss anyone or a certain aspect of the narrative.
I have to admit, I both loved and hated the romance aspects of this book because it ended up leaving me heartbroken. It really demonstrates that nothing can work out perfectly in the world, no matter how much you want reality to turn into a fairy tale. The beautiful descriptions of people and the opulent places in which they stayed made it all feel like a wonderful dream, yet the very real danger and intrigue brought everything down to a grittier level.
Another part of the book I found interesting with the magic that was very real in that world. I loved seeing how it was or wasn’t used in their reality. It was odd to see a regular historical monarchy with real magicians at their beck and call. I think that fantastical aspect added another element that I really liked because I was glad that it wasn’t simply the personal drama driving the plot forward.
And then I finished just to find out that this is the first book in a series! Even though I feel like it could have been a standalone, I’m so excited to see what else could happen and can’t wait to get my hands on book two! I’d recommend this book to everyone. It’s so interesting, will leave you on the edge of your seat, and will definitely have you so emotionally invested you won’t want to put it down.