The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz
Publication date: April 1st 2014
Number of pages: 384
Series: The Ring and the Crown (1#)
Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical Fiction
Source: Borrowed. This is my honest opinion.
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.
A world of magic, politics and love where passions run high.
I’m not going to lie. I really didn’t have high expectations for this book. At all. The reviews I’d seen hadn’t been brilliant and I wasn’t a fan of the author’s ‘Blue Bloods’ series. Thankfully, I did like this one more than I thought. Otherwise that beautiful cover would completely have gone to waste.
I’d describe this book as following 4 main female characters (Marie-Victoria, Aelwyn, Isabella and Ronan) and one male, a man named Wolf. It was told in third person but narrated various scenes of the lives of the 5 characters listed above. I surprised myself to actually liking all the characters listed above (usually I’m pretty biased and find one point of view that I like most/least). But I was very interested in all their stories and really felt for them.
I love the way that Arthurian legends have highlighted so heavily in the story. There are mentions of characters like Merlin and Vivian and I really wish that there were more books that kind of showcased these legends. Being from a background rich in British and Celtic history, these legends have featured a lot in tales my parents used to tell me. Plus who couldn’t love BBC’s television adaption of Merlin. That actually has to be one of my favourite shows ever. Ever, ever, ever.
I also adored Melissa de la Cruz’s writing. Even though she was writing in third person, I never felt detached from the story. Her writing just kind of flows perfectly and is very easy to read. I got through this book very quickly and could easily have kept going.
While for my enjoyment level of the story I would rate the book 4/5 stars (or something like that) for most of the book, I feel like the ending and the story fell a bit flat over all. I feel like I was waiting for some big climax or some complication of sorts to happen. I don’t really feel as though much happened over the entire course of the novel. The story seemed to be more about who was falling in love with who.
Which left me feeling totally disappointed towards the end. I can’t really say much more without spoiling it but I decided to drop my rating because I felt a little cheated. Like everything that did happen in the story happened for nothing and it was pointless.
Although, I did appreciate the twists. Even if some of them made me a little bit frustrated.
And I loved the way it was kind of written as an alternative as to how history could have gone. I would love to read more books like that in YA.
The other thing is, we didn’t get to see much of the friendship particularly between Marie-Victoria and Aelwyn. I don’t feel like I really saw much closeness between them, only relied on what the author had shared about their past, which to be honest wasn’t that much.
I thought this review would be more positive but apparently now that I’m reflecting on it, things have changed. I probably won’t continue on with the trilogy. However, I actually did enjoy what I read, believe it or not. It was a nice, light read.
The Earth shook. If they thought the Leaning Tower of Pisa was leaning before…
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Goodreads author bio:
Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.
Her books for adults include the novel Cat’s Meow, the anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and the tongue-in-chic handbooks How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less and The Fashionista Files: Adventures in Four-inch heels and Faux-Pas.
She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.
Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).
She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter.