I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz
Series: The Ring And The Crown #1
Published by Disney Electronic Content on 2014-04-01
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Young Adult
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Magic is power, and power is magic... Once they were inseparable, just two little girls playing games in a mighty 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.
My experience with The Ring And The Crown by Melissa de la Cruz started out so good. I was just completely into the book and really feeling the alternate history, then the last 50 pages or so kind of ended up leaving a bad taste in my mouth. This was a book where if the ending had gone the way I wanted it to go would have me giving it all of the stars. I don’t feel like a terrible person for saying that the very last part of the plot felt like it made no sense and like the book just went off of the rails. It’s unfortunate too, because y’all, I really, really loved the beginning of The Ring And The Crown. Funny how endings can change how you perceive a book overall.
Melissa de la Cruz’s latest book follows several different plot threads. The gist however is that this book is set in the past. France is now part of the British empire. Instead of technology, people use magic. Eleanor of Aquitaine is still alive thanks to the use of magic from her Merlin named Emrys. Eleanor’s daughter, Marie-Victoria is about to get married to Leopold, who is the crown prince of the Prussian empire. Only Marie-Victoria does not have those feels for Leopold. Instead, her feels are for her guard, Gill. Marie-Victoria’s best friend is named Aelwyn and she is a mage and can use magic and basically serves Marie-Victoria. Aelwyn uses a glamor to take on Marie-Victoria’s features so that Marie-Victoria can escape her confines. Meanwhile, there is also a girl named Isobel who is French and who has a terrible cousin named Hugh who has abused her. Isobel was engaged to Leopold but that engagement was broken. She’s very beautiful and haughty. Then there is another girl named Ronan Astor who is American and has come to England to make her season debut and to find a rich husband because the Astors are poor beneath their rich veneer. On the steamship over to England, Ronan meets and connects with a guy named Wolf who is perfect for her, except he’s poor. OR IS HE. And that’s all the different plots of The Ring And The Crown without being super spoilery.
Friends, I think I really hated this book because I was so completely invested in Ronan as a character and she totally gets the shaft in this book. Like, she is American and interesting. She’s got spark. She also has this awesome connection with Wolf, that I mentioned before. And of course, she does what a girl in her situation must do and spurns his attentions and then ugh, she just gets screwed over and I was so pissed off at the ending that I am getting all incomprehensible in here. Let’s just say that I am not at all pleased. Oh and also, the other character I really liked was Wolf because he’s into boxing and is kind of a rogue and I certainly have a soft spot for rogues, especially those who play strip billiards LOLOLOL.
I know a lot of people who reviewed this seemed to be into Marie-Victoria, but eh, I thought she was really boring. Like okay I get that she’s gentle and kind and shy and everyone else outshines her. I get that she’s totally sickly. But honestly? She wasn’t that interesting to me. I thought her parts were the most dull bits and could not wait to get to someone else. Also, her ending made me mad too because it just didn’t follow logic. Ugh. So mad. I also have to say I wasn’t totally invested in Isobel. She has a sad backstory, yes, and she experiences a lot of tragedy but she’s kind of rude and mean and I feel okay saying that. Just, meh, at least she had more interesting things to do and say than Marie-Victoria though.
What I will end with is that I didn’t mind the writing in The Ring And The Crown. It’s very breezy and light reading. It’s dramatic. There’s so much going on. Not a ton of things are really developed, except for the alternate history world building. That bit is mad cool. Overall, I feel disappointed by how slipshod the ending is and how this would have worked for me as a standalone, but then the ending went off the rails and now there’s going to be a sequel and I am just so mad about the ship I was invested in being totally sunk or tossed over, what have you. Honestly, that’s what this whole review is, me having a grudge about the ending.