Title/Author: The Ring and the Crown (The Ring and the Crown #1) by Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher/Date published: Disney-Hyperion, April 1st 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository
Goodreads summary: 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.
It's not an April Fools joke, I'm really back at blogging! I think.
So I read The Ring and the Crown last week and while I was a bit hesitant to start it at first, because I'd heard less than favourable things about Melissa de la Cruz's other books, the summary sounded to good to be resisted and I'm happy to say that I did very much enjoy The Ring and the Crown!
There are a couple of different storylines overlapping each other and while I had to get used to the different POVs at first, once I got to know each of the characters, I started enjoying it. It added a bit more perspective to the story than if had just been focused on Marie or Aelwyn.
So let's talk about the characters: I actually really liked most of the ones who had their own POV, except for Isabelle, who I thought needed to grow a spine and a brain. My favourites are probably Ronan and Wolf, because LOVE! And sadness. But I don't want to spoil anything so that's all I'm going to say.
While I liked the multiple POV and how it added to the storyline, it made some of the characters a bit better fleshed out than others. I would have loved seeing more of Aelwyn's magic and while her father and the Queen are a presence in the background, we don't really get to see much of them either and they're so intriguing characters! Especially with the big reveal at the end.
Towards the end there was shock and intrigue and I had a few swoons along the way. It was easy to get lost in this alternate history England that Melissa de la Cruz has created and I loved the fantasy elements. But then the ending came and I was abruptly yanked out of my daze because WHAT WAS THAT?? I felt like the ending brought us back to pretty much where the book began with a few adjustments! AND I DON'T LIKE IT. And there was this whole big reveal about a LOT of things that had gone on for a LOOOOONG time and BOOM everyone just accepts this? I mean WTF??? I was just staring at the screen of my ereader and going WAIT WHAT??? But HOW. And WHY. And JUST NO. UGH.
So while I REALLY enjoyed most of the book, I was very disappointed by that less than stellar ending. I am really curious to see what will happen next, so I'll probably be picking up the next one in the series, even though the ending left a bad tast in my mouth.
My rating: 3,5 stars