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Title: The Ring and the Crown
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Year Published: 2014
My Pre Reading of The Ring and the Crown
Synopsis: 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.
Review: I heard so much hype about the book even before it was released. Melissa de la Cruz has an awesome presence on social media. She posted a lot of cool pictures on Instagram with fans and fellow authors wearing flower crowns. Although I did really enjoy this book, it unfortunately did not meet up to all the hype.
This book is one of those books where the synopsis gives way too much away. I wish I hadn't read the synopsis on goodreads before starting the book.
I heard this book compared to a YA Game of Thrones, but the amazing characterization and complexities found in George R.R. Martin's epic are not present here. There is the royal court intrigue. There also is the magic, but there isn't that realness and depth that makes me want to try and read a 1,000 page book in one night. I didn't really connect with any of these characters and there were too many. It seems to be the popular thing right now to have a lot of different perspective characters, but it takes a lot of work to get that many characters across. With so many characters, I think this book would make an excellent tv show. It would be like Downton Abbey meets Game of Thrones except with a The CW vibe. There are so many romantic pairings that seem obvious from their introductions.
Although I didn't connect with the characters, I absolutely loved the world building. The alternate history world where magic exists is what kept me reading. I always like when an alternative history takes some more modern moral stances on social issues. I enjoyed that de la Cruz included queer characters. I also liked that the chapters were very short. I always seem like I read a book faster when the chapters aren't 20 pages long.
The last 5% of the book is a dump of reveals. It didn't flow well for me.
I have heard that this is the first in a series, but it definitely can stand alone. I don't know if I will be interested in a sequel unless it is set further in the future and showcases the next generation. I felt everything, although dumped all at once, was tied up nicely in the end.
Although I didn't connect with the characters, I did enjoy the concept of this book and the world de la Cruz created. I would absolutely watch this as a tv series. Oh, I forgot to mention the pop culture quotes. I loved them! It's always cool when an author connects modern pop culture with an alternative history fantasy. I give this novel a 3.5/5. I do recommend it to fans of fantasy YA, but stay away from synopses! And don't expect something as amazing as Game of Thrones. I think the hype is what might have ruined the book for me.