I was a little skeptical about reading this book, but being a fan of Tamora Pierce novels, I decided to give it a try. Turns out, I loved it. It was the right mix of adventure, feminine power, court intrigue, and of course, romance. Plus with two books in one, no need to hunt for the sequel, also there is a bonus story at the end to carry on the novel just a little bit longer.
This sounded from the description like the type of fantasy book I would really like; and I did really enjoy it. Originally this was released as two books Crown Duel and Court Duel. I am glad it was finally released as one novel; for although there is a distinction between the two parts of the story it would've been hard to leave it after the first half of the book.
Meliara (Mel) and her brother are up in arms against the king of their country in an effort to protect the Hill Folk and the Covenant; if theysucceed they will be meeting the wishes of Mel's dead father. Their ignorance leads them into a fight larger than they expected and into an alliance with unexpected personages. In the end Mel must quell her headstrong attitude and lay down her sword to turn to a different sort of fighting; the fighting which takes place in the halls and courts of the king. She must also deal with her hatred of the one person who seems to fully understand her goals; Shevraeth.
This was an excellent book. It was well-written and had many classic elements that make a young adult fantasy like this a good one. You have a stubborn kick-butt woman who is full ofrighteousness and conviction for her people and as the Countess of very poor lands does her best to protect her people. You have a man who is full of surprises and is not what he at first seems; doing his best to ally and quell her over-eager attempts at revenge. You have an evil king, a great war and then of course a warrior maiden thrust into the dangers of court politics. I love these types of books and as such really enjoyed this one.
The main strength of this book is the excellent characterization. Although the fast pace, great action scenes, and sweet love story intertwined in the plot all group together to make a very enjoyable read.
I will definitely be looking at more books written by Smith and picking them up to read. If you liked this book a lot you would also enjoy Maledicte, The Cast Series, and Hero and the Crown. All of these books have a similar premise of a strong-willed girl being thrust into situations that she is not prepared to deal with it. All of these books deal with a lot of intrigue, have lots of action, and a love story intertwined throughout the plot.
Meliara and her brother Branarics lives change forever the day they promise their count father on his deathbed to overthrow the kings corrupt regime. Mel and Bran lead a ragtag bunch of loyal servants and friends against the kings army, which throws Mel again and again across the path of the Marquis of Shevraeth, a stoic man hiding quite a few number of his secrets. When, however, the dust of war has settled, Mel discovers that she just might prefer running and hiding across the countryside to save her life better than putting on the façade of gracious noblewoman in the new king-to-bes court.
Oh how I adore feisty heroines embroiled in duplicitous, action-packed fantasy political intrigues and romance! I wish I had known about this book earlier, for I have a feeling it will be one that I return to again and again for that magical dose of adventure, feminism, and romance.
Mel is my favorite kind of fantasy heroine: tough, resourceful, opinionated, and scared of being seen as vulnerable despite her deeply warm heart. I dont even care that this type of female protagonist is a fantasy trope, because I just love em. I loved reading about Mels struggles to avoid capture at the hands of Shevraeth and the kings other men. And then I loved reading about Mels struggles to make herself a gentlewoman, worthy of the respect of the court. Mel is a protagonist worthy of Tamora Pierces creations.
I love that this books pacing never drags, which is great because I just get so darn bored of the MCs moody contemplations of anything and everything that has or hasnt happened to her. I admit wholeheartedly that I adored the books romantic subplot and, yes, will probably reread this book many times for mostly that element. It reminds me of a sort of Elizabeth Bennet-Mr. Darcy relationship arc, and I will leave it at that appetite-whetting point.
CROWN DUEL is a must-read if you love your Tamora Pierce and Gail Carson Levine. Maybe it doesnt break new ground in lighthearted fantasy literature, but it fuels the fire that keeps my heart warm, fuzzy, and swooningly romantic. Sighhh. Now, back to rereading favorite bits
Stefanie A. (patchenpickles) reviewed Crown Duel (Crown and Court Duel, Bks 1 and 2, revised) (aka Crown Duel/Court Duel) (Sartorias-deles Universe) on
Helpful Score: 1
I finished this book at 4:30 in the morning because I couldn't put it down. True, the beginning was a little shaky. I felt like a character who wakes up in a strange place with strange people, and is dragged along through the plot trying desperately to figure out what's going on. But by about page 50, I had figured out enough to peak my interest, and from there on it was one of the best books I've read in months. Thank goodness the two books were together, since I would have been left gasping for air without the second half of the story. I've recommended this story to all the readers I know, and now I recommend it to you. Loved it, loved it, loved it.
This book is about a Back country Countess and how she learns about court life, and in doing so protects her kingdom and those around her. It was neat to read a story where not all the characters know how to fight, lead wars, and be perfect all of the time. Very refreshing!
Megan K. reviewed Crown Duel (Crown and Court Duel, Bks 1 and 2, revised) (aka Crown Duel/Court Duel) (Sartorias-deles Universe) on + 4 more book reviews
This book has been on my top list and has been for a long time. The characters are interesting and believable. The events are exciting and I wish there were more books like this one. I have yet to find another that compares.