Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

genre: ya fantasy

Two friends, raised in the palace.  Two girls, one preparing to be a queen, the other learning the depths of a magic that can not only create illusions and cure the sick but can in a single stroke tear a kingdom apart.  Marie, a princess, has always been sickly, always felt tied up by the bonds of her future as leader of the empire. Aelwyn's knowledge of magic makes her yearn for the power to lead.  With a recent war fresh in their minds and upcoming arranged engagement for Marie, the upcoming London Season looks promising indeed.  Between foreign princes, invited courtiers and American heiresses looking for a match, the Franco-British empire is on the cusp of a grand changing of the guard.

I liked this fast-moving fantasy soap opera.  There is a lot of different minor plots and we are switching between various characters as they circle around the palace and the impending marriage between Marie and the Prussian prince.  There is all kinds of lovemaking and wooing and unwanted affection - and I appreciated that our author didn't try to tie everything up with a nice bow in the end.  One thing I didn't like was a particular scene that was full of revelations - they felt shoved at me and what was revealed was never fleshed out so that we saw the results in the plot.  Even the revelations themselves felt a little off to me and it took the shine off the novel as a whole.  I appreciated this fantasty-future, with its magical ties to Camelot and re-constructed history of Europe, I just wasn't completely thrilled by the end.  Not sorry I read it, just not blown away.

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