Published by Disney-Hyperion April 1, 2014
Part of a series (don’t know the name) (Book One)
Source: New Teen Shelf at Library (serendipity)
Bookologists Analysis: I felt the tension in this book build it. I didn’t know what to expect at the end except a big bang and fantastic ending, but was let down a bit. I hope that maybe it is because it is a series, so maybe it will get better.
Magic is power, and power is magic...
Once they were inseparable, just two little girls playing games in a formidable 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.
The Ring & the Crown is written by Melissa De La Cruz who also wrote Blue Bloods series. Blue Bloods was about being daring and breaking the boundaries, this book not quite so much. The book had some of the best worldbuilding I’ve seen with the alternate history plus magic in a royalty pseudo Victorian season with multiple narrators. This book had the best ma (see this post by Laini Taylor), that I have seen in a long time. The tension built up perfectly right to an ending that felt rushed and unplanned. Just before the ending everything felt apart into pieces you had to collect.
The characters were very clichéd. You could see the same reflections of Blue Blood characters. However, you still felt invested in who they are and which their emotions were very real and they became your friends. The novel with its unoutlined ending didn’t do these characters justice as you watched De La Cruz just play with them in an unfair way. This was one of the first books with multiple narrators that I felt was very simple to follow. Each character from Wolf, the bad boy, to Princess Marie Victoria, the sickly weak child who can’t do anything, had a special voice that was entirely distinctive to them. I loved the ways the characters were portrayed till the end when the plot fell apart.
The design and layout of this book was beautiful. I felt that the type font reflected it the oldness just right with all of the elegance and royal air needed. You can also see the awesome cover above with a girl with a flower headdress. The parts also this awesome marbled effect with hidden pieces of the puzzle like a sword and crown. I liked that at least the people who were designing the book paid attention to it like it was their little precious baby.
The Ring & the Crown was a book I was looking forward to with all my heart, I wanted to see what Melissa had in store after the Blue Blood novels, but all I got was a big slap in the face. I appreciated the building of characters and an original world, but what carries the book is always the plot. I think we can all take a lesson from this remembering that no matter how good a book’s beginning is we can still feel let down by the end and ultimately regard the book with disappointment about what could’ve been. Rating: ««