I received this book for free from gift in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: The Ring and the Crown #1
Published by Disney-Hyperion on April 1st, 2014
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Historical, Love & Romance, Young Adult
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.
My first foray into Melissa de la Cruz’s writing and I was super excited to read The Ring and the Crown. The synopsis fascinated me. Four different society girls all leading various different lives, tied together in a beautiful world where both science is regarded as backwards and magic is forward-thinking. She brought such a unique spin to the world and I truly enjoyed it immensely. The world is beautifully researched and thought out and was one of the most strongest aspects of the book. The Mage sisterhood reminded me of a nunnery, and for all the magic that was thrown into the book, they don’t cast a lot of spells at all.
The big thing this book was missing is a plot. Where was it? Did I completely miss it? I don’t think I did, because it follows the lives of the girls and that’s it. To me, that was the most disappointing thing about it. I wished there was a huge storyline that kept moving forward but sadly there wasn’t.
As for the main cast of characters, I couldn’t really connect with anyone, unless you count Ronan. She had some personality traits that I could relate to. But the others I didn’t particularly like. The development of each of the characters do appear by the end, so that’s always wonderful to see. The game playing is just like Gossip Girl only in a wonderful new world with royal intrigue, scandals and magic.
These women are conniving and manipulative and ruthless. And I wasn’t liking any of them. Now for the males in the story. I thought the brotherly relationship between Leon and Wolf was rather interesting. The reveal in the end wasn’t shocking at all, but rather predictable. Wolf is an interesting character. His persona to the world as second in line to the throne has its merit. He acts like a pompous a-hole but in reality he’s a “Labrador than fox when it came to ladies.” When he grew up with his father treating his mother like a used toy. For honour, for duty instead of love. I found him to be at least likable.
Read it for its beautiful historical references and world, but skip it if you’re looking for a story-line.