Friday, September 12, 2014

GUEST REVIEW: THE RING AND THE CROWN by Melissa de la Cruz




Title: The Ring and the Crown
Series: The Ring and the Crown, #1
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Genres: YA, Paranormal Romance
Reviewed by: Ellen Fritz
Ellen’s rating: 4/5

SUMMARY

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.





REVIEW

Set in a world with a vastly altered history, where magic is used in warfare as well as in place of technology, The Ring and The Crown is a light, relaxing read. Princess Marie-Victoria, soon to marry Leopold, crown prince of Prussia, and Elwyn, daughter of the great mage, Emrys Myrddyn, the Merlin, had been friends since early childhood. Now Elwyn must help Marie achieve the impossible while securing a place of power for herself. Only, with the hustle and bustle of the London season as well as the interference of several malicious individuals, things don't quite work out the way Marie and Elwyn had imagined it would.

Although this book reads a bit like a regency novel meets celebrity gossip tabloid, the effortlessly flowing prose and forward moving plot made it a pleasure to read.

This book boasts several colorful key characters. I, however, couldn't really identify with the two main characters, Marie and Elwyn. Rather, I found myself drawn to Ronan who came from New York with her mother's express command/threat: bring home a rich husband to save the family fortunes, or else. Determined to do just that, Ronan did not take into account that she might just fall in love for real.

Of the male characters in the story, Wolfgang, brother of crown prince Leopold, was my favorite character; closely followed by the hilariously funny gay couple, Perry and Archie. To say much more about the gentlemen in the story, poses the danger of giving spoilers.

The romance, or should that be the imaginings and actions of multiple hormonal and thoroughly horny teenagers, was too exaggerated for my taste. Although the plot develops throughout the book, the story really only becomes truly suspenseful and thrilling towards the end. Said end is, of course, not at all what one would have predicted.

Taking the reader from tea parties, dinners and balls, to the secret activities of bedrooms and dungeons, this is a tale of political intrigue, illicit meetings, and ultimate sacrifice to fulfill responsibilities. If paranormal romance with a healthy dose of intrigue is your reading preference, this is the perfect book to kick back and relax with.








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ABOUT the AUTHOR


Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.

Her books for adults include the novel Cat’s Meow, the anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and the tongue-in-chic handbooks How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less and The Fashionista Files: Adventures in Four-inch heels and Faux-Pas.

She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.

Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).

She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter.



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