Friday, March 14, 2014

Review: The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

Title: The Ring and the Crown
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Series: Book One in the Ring and the Crown Series
Published By: Disney-Hyperion (April 1, 2014)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 3 Stars

Book Description:
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.





One of the few known things about me is that I love history, it was always one of my most favorite subjects in school. I love learning about our past and getting swept away with the details of another time and place, which is probably why I love reading historical fiction so much, the details, the balls, the dress, the manners, the innovations, how life was then, all of it. There is just something fascinating about it all. 

When I saw that this was going to be set in an alternate twentieth century England, where magic rules the land, I just knew I had to pick it up and read it. Debutantes, season, balls, fabulous dresses, conspiracies, lost loves and magic, what's not to love.

I already knew I liked de la Cruz's writing having read two of her other series, what I wasn't expecting was, even though there is a paranormal element to this, just how different it felt from her others. It had a whole new feel to it and I actually really liked that about it. My only real complaint is that the history nerd in me wanted a little more detail about the kingdom and setting. I would have loved to have just a little more description in what they wore, the surrounding castle and land and okay, I will admit it, even the dresses. I do kind of wish Merlin's legacy would have been more fleshed out as well, I never was confused but it would have been nice to know how King Arthur's court was continued other than simply by magic. Was magic not a secret to anyone at all or did only the rich, privileged and royal (as well as their servants) know about it?

What about Avalon? What and where exactly was it? What was the full story behind the aunt?

Even though I felt like I still had many unanswered questions by the end, overall I did enjoy this. I liked that it wasn't just about Aewlyn and Marie, that is was in fact about many people and how all their lives intertwined and connected. 

This wasn't a sweet fairytale but instead it had a harshness to it and probably even a very accurate look into how royal life really was/is then. How one couldn't just marry for love but instead had to for money, titles, union of two kingdoms or circumstance. 

I have no idea if this will be a series or if there will even be a sequel but I am hoping that there will be because I would love to have de la Cruz answer all those pesky questions I still have and get to really see what became of all the characters months down the road. 

(it seems now that it is closer to release date, there is in fact a sequel planned)




*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher in any way. I was not compensated for this review.*

30 comments:

  1. I've always been a big fan of history too Ali, it was one of my favorite subjects in school:) I love the setting of this one, but I feel like I'll probably want more details about it as you did. I'm hoping there's a sequel to this book since you were left with a fair number of questions at the end, I'm usually okay with some questions as long as I know they'll be answered at some point! Lovely review as always:)

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    1. I really am too Jenny which is why more than likely, I will be picking up the second book. ;)

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  2. I love history, too! I'm so glad that the writing was good and that The Ring and Crown was pretty enjoyable overall. I wasn't planning on picking this one up, but I think I might give it a try. It seems like the unanswered questions might bother me, but at least there's a sequel. Great review :)

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  3. Ali I love history too. English especial English Lit and History were always my favorite subjects. I am with you on wanting more details but glad you enjoyed this overall.

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  4. I've had one of Melissa de la Cruz's books sitting on my shelves for way too long. I think I'll start with that one first, but I'll keep this series in mind. Great review!

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  5. I love (ancient) history too and I do have a fascination with the King Arthur legend so i am kind of disappointed that the author didn't dwell into that tid bit much.

    I am glad to hear you enjoyed it overall because I am looking forward to this one (and look it has such a pretteh coverrrr).

    Wonderful Review!! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

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    1. It really does have an eye catching cover!

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  6. I still haven't read a book by this author and I know they are hit or miss with readers. I was so tempted to get this one but I held off. I think I will wait to see if the second book is more solid before starting.

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    1. They really do seem to be for some reason. I guess you will never know until you try one of them whether you will like it or not. ;)

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  7. I love alternate history/alternate universe stories! There seems to be so much to like about this book, and yet all those unanswered questions would surely bother me too.
    I've never read anything by de la Cruz before and perhaps this isn't the best place to start.
    Lovely review, Ali!

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  8. Like most everyone else who commented, I really enjoy history. The fact that The Ring and the Crown is a alternate/history sounds even better. I would have been disappointed just like you were Ali, with the lack of details on something so interesting as King Arthur and Avalon. I haven't read de la Cruz before, but I might pick this one up since it deals with magic and Merlin's legacy.

    Wonderful review :)

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  9. I heart history, too. And alternate history stories are usually pretty cool. Too bad about need answers, but hopefully stuff will be answered in the sequel.

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    1. I am really hoping they will be Christy.

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  10. You a History fan? Woot, me, too! Glad to see other History lovers here <3

    With that said, that sucks there's something lacking about this book. I was actually looking forward to it a lot (especially since there was a tea party thrown for it... have you seen Wendy's photos?! Dayumn). I may still read it though, but I'll probably read it with lower expectations.

    Great review!

    Faye @ The Social Potato Reviews

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  11. Hey, hey--guess who else loves history? Ancient Civ was always my favorite, but really, I loved it all. I have to admit your review has made me a bit leery. It would drive me nuts to read a book with Arthurian elements that didn't get fleshed out. Since there IS going to be a sequel, maybe I'll wait and see how it goes . . . Great review!

    Jessica @ Rabid Reads

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  12. I always see this book when I log into NetGalley and every time I'm so close to requesting it. I mean that period in England seems so interesting and King Arthur is someone we all heard stories about. Sadly I don't think I'd enjoy so many unanswered questions. Great review, Ali :)

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    1. Thanks Tanja! It is hard to miss with that cover!

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  13. I never paid much attention to this but I have to say the description really captured my attention but your 3 stars has me thinking that I'll wait for now.

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    1. sorry Candace! You never know, you may love it. You tend to like fantasy more than I do.

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  14. I'm a huge fan of history too, but I'm not sure this book is going to work for me. I don't have much luck with Melissa's writing unfortunately, and hearing you have so many unanswered questions has me wary. Still, lovely review, I appreciate your honesty!

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    1. If you haven't had luck with her other writing you probably wouldn't like this one either.

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  15. While I am not sure if this one if for me, the history aspect does sound really interesting. Thanks for your great review.

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