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

Standalone Review: Catch my thoughts on this book!

The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

Series: The Ring and the Crown
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
# of Books: 1 2 (The Ring and the Crown, The Lily and the Cross)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: YES

This was originally going to be a trilogy but Melissa announced on her blog in March 2016 that it would be a standalone novel. The sequel was written as a draft and it is available for purchase though no further work will be done on the series.

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Magic, Romance, Drama, Alternate History
Heat Rating: lukewarm
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple

Thoughts:

I’ve read most of Cruz’s Blue Bloods saga (one book to go!) and enjoyed it for the most part. It was a cool spin on vampires and angels and I loved the more mature young adult feel to it. While the series went on longer than I would have liked (it felt like it dragged at times), I really liked her writing style and her ability to write interesting characters and plots. So when I saw this book, my interest was peaked.

What really sucks is that the Goodreads synopsis (read it here) really gives the reader the wrong first impression about this book. When you read the synopsis, you think this book will focus on two best friends stuck in political and royal turmoil–but that is only half of the case. If you get the actual physical copy of the book like I did and read the synopsis there, you get a completely different plot summary–and one that is much more accurate to what the novel is about. That synopsis is the one I have decided to use for my review and you can find it at the bottom of this post.

Long story short: if you are expecting a novel about two girls fighting for the crown complete with lots of offensive magic spells and evil politics abounds–you will be severely disappointed. This book is mostly about 4 girls trying to find their place in a world where they are restricted by society, politics and simply for being females.

Once I figured out what the plot actually was, I started to enjoy the novel. Like her other series, this book focuses on multiple main characters that all interweave in the plot–which makes it that much more interesting if you ask me because there was a lot going on plot-wise. It’s fun to see how everything links together and it keeps the pace of the book on the faster side because multiple things are happening at once.

I was a little lost trying to keep everyone’s lineages straight but once I got more into the story, things started making more sense and I really started to get wrapped up in everything. The plot synopsis is really deceiving again because you think the story will mostly focus on Aelywn and Marie but Aelywn really doesn’t do much for the entire book. I found the book mostly focused on Ronan and Marie with little spurts of Aelywn and Isabelle thrown in. I actually didn’t mind so much because I was really interested in Ronan’s story but I really think Aelywn really could have been developed more and made a really awesome character.

When I was reading, it was really unclear to me if this book was a part of a series because it ended really suddenly yet it seemed to wrap everything up–and I really disliked the ending because of that. Suddenly things that happened “off-stage” are brought to light and it ruined what would have been an awesome ending if they had been more developed instead of simply stated as fact. Looking back at the novel as a whole, it took too long to reach its climax but I still enjoyed reading it.

So if there is a sequel, I’m really interested to see where it is going–because up until the last chapter I was totally on board with what was going to happen in the sequel but the ending really threw me for a loop. Turns out that there is a sequel and based on the synopsis I read it sounds like it is the same cast of characters but with new games afoot. I will probably check it out just for curiosities’ sake but I won’t be counting down the days.

**NOTE: This was going to be a series but the author has decided to keep it as a standalone!

Conclusion:

I think if you go in to this book understanding what is really going to happen with the plot, people would enjoy it more. But frankly the plot descriptions provided to the reader don’t fully explain what is happening. If you are looking for a young adult read filled with magically and politically suspense–look elsewhere because this isn’t it. There is no other way to describe this book other than “chick lit” because the book mostly focuses on the romances of the girls and them trying to find their place in the world. There is a dash of suspense, but it really isn’t present until the last 40 pages. I enjoyed it once I got a grasp of what was happening, but I wish the ending was better. I think de la Cruz missed the mark a bit with this book which is a shame because it would have been really great.

Rating: 3.5/5

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Synopsis for The Ring and the Crown (from Chapters/Indigo):
Magic is power, and power is magic…

Once they were inseparable, just two little girls playing games in a formidable castle. Now Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the mightiest empire in the world, and Aelwyn Myrddyn, a bastard mage, face vastly different futures.

Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second. With the help of her Merlin, Eleanor has maintained a stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. While the enchanters faithfully serve the crown, the sun will never set on the Franco-British Empire.

As the annual London Season begins, the great and noble families across the globe flaunt their wealth and magic at parties, teas, and, of course, the lavish Bal du Drap d’Or, the Ball of the Gold Cloth.

But the talk of the season is Ronan Astor, a social-climbing American with only her dazzling beauty to recommend her. Ronan is determined to make a good match to save her family’s position. But when she falls for a handsome rogue on the voyage over, her lofty plans are imperiled by her desires.

Meanwhile, Isabelle of Orleans, daughter of the displaced French royal family, finds herself cast aside by Leopold, heir to the Prussian crown, in favor of a political marriage to Marie-Victoria. Isabelle arrives in the city bent on reclaiming what is hers. But Marie doesn”t even want Leopold-she has lost her heart to a boy the future queen would never be allowed to marry.

When Marie comes to Aelwyn, desperate to escape a life without love, the girls form a perilous plan that endangers not only the entire kingdom but the fate of the monarchy.

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