Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Book Review: The Ring & the Crown, by Melissa de la Cruz @MelissadelaCruz

The Ring & the Crown is a beautiful, fascinating romance that will surprise you!

I got lost in these characters and this world. We're in the early 19th century, but it's an alternate history. England is ruled by a monarchy, but really it's the Merlin who controls everything with his magic. The U.S. didn't win the revolutionary war, and there is no magic in the states.

We follow several different characters and story lines, and they are all delicious. Marie-Victoria, the daughter of the Queen of England,  must marry the Leopold, the Prince of Prussia to cement the peace between their two countries. She is not at all happy, because she's in love with her guard, Gill, and thinks Leo is a fake.

Marie's childhood friend and the Merlin's daughter, Aelwyn, will help her get through this difficult time (and make her beautiful using all her magic.) Aelwyn also has a unique magical ability that will add to the intrigue.

Isabelle of Orleans was betrothed to Leo, and must give that up to allow Marie to marry him, but still loves him. Leo thinks Isabelle can be his mistress and nothing will change, but Isabelle can't live like that.

Ronan Astor is from the U.S. and wants to find a rich, English title-holder to marry and save her family from financial ruin. So she travels from the U.S. to attend all the parties and balls of The London Season, and find a husband.

There's so much more, but you get the idea. This is a complex plot, with lots of twists and turns. You may at times settle in and think you know where the plot is headed, but you will most likely be wrong. This is not a typical "the royals are forced to get married to save the kingdom but they rebel" story. The addition of the magic and the evil characters make The Ring & the Crown shine.

I wanted so badly the Happily Ever After ending. But, while I liked the ending, it left me feeling a bit unsettled that everything didn't turn out perfectly. Part of that is because everything at the end happened pretty fast! I could have used a few more pages and time passing a bit more slowly to wrap it all up. I think the ending, while surprising, is probably more realistic than the HEA.

I did have difficulty with the history and the time-period. But it didn't really matter, because the story and the characters carry you away.We start out with the history of the countries, in 1429. I guess I didn't read carefully enough, because we are all the sudden at the beginning of the twentieth century. It took me a while to catch up, but now that I re-read the introduction, I realize it was totally my fault.

So, now I have nothing bad to say. The Ring & the Crown absorbed me. I can't wait to show this book to my teens. And, the beautiful cover is just icing on the cake!

Published by Disney-Hyperion, April 1, 2014
eBook obtained from NetGalley
384 pages

Rating: 4.5/5

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