Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Book Review | The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night

I was sent this book as an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy).  I was so excited.  This was the first thing I have ever been sent for my review purposes, and I was REALLY looking forward to jumping in!  I was told that if I liked Harry Potter (check!), Snow White (check!) and Percy Jackson (never read it, but I like mythology, soooo half check?) then I would like this.

The box came with a beautiful media kit, complete with a Glanagerie of my own, which is an element from the book.  It basically is a little bottle full of glitter that lights up (it's a more complicated element in the actual story), so yep, excited.

The day finally came when I was able to sit down and begin reading the book.  Having already read the prologue on D.E. Night's website, I just skipped straight to the story. If I'm being honest, it was a lot more work than I was bargaining for.

Book Basics
Name:  The Crowns of Croswald
Author:  D.E. Night
Pages:  310
Chapters:  Prologue, 24 chapters
Genre:  Fantasy/Middle-Grade
Tagline:  In Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic in one secret...
Synopsis from book cover:
"For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical.  When Ivy crosses the boarder, her powers awaken.  Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald's mysterious gems.  When Ivy's magic - and her life - is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever."

Review (Spoilers)
I truly wanted to love this book.  I really, really did.  And I didn't hate it, but I can certainly say I didn't love it.  There were some aspects of the book that I liked.  I thought that the world she built was very whimsical, and I enjoyed how everything had a cute name.  There were definitely some interesting concepts, but there were also a lot of things that fell flat.

I found that the book was very slow-moving.  The plot moved at a glacial pace, and I think that she focused way too much on the day-to-day life of Ivy in school without giving enough of a reason for why she was focusing on any certain aspect.  Because I had Harry Potter stuck in my mind,  we all know how brilliant Queen Rowling is at just dropping bits of plot here and there, as well as educating us on certain things to have them pop up later in the story.  I just felt like there were elements in this book that had a lot of potential for that kind of foreshadowing that were just left alone and never spoken of again.

I also don't feel like any of the actual plot was revealed until the last third of the book.  The first two thirds were a lot of world building, unnecessary conversations, and following her around school.  We were given tiny little fragments of plot, but they seemed to be all over the place and forgotten about pretty quickly.  Everything just really started to happen way later in the book, although the plot was pretty transparent and you could see everything coming a mile away.

I will say that I was very excited to have a female lead in this book initially, but I didn't really find her very likeable.  I think I ended up finding her friend/roommate, Rebecca, more likeable than Ivy.  But I guess I could also say the same thing about Harry Potter and Ron.

I thought that we were going to get through a female-driven book without a love interest, but of course not.  This came very randomly in Fyn, a fellow student at the Halls of Ivy.  I think one of the reasons why I didn't think this would blossom into anything was because this guy was barely in the book.  He was in for a blip of a chapter, then he was gone for a long time, and then he was mentioned, and then gone, and on and on.  Then finally he was in it for a while.  And then they both apparently like each other?  It just felt very forced.  Like someone told her she had to put a love interest in there.  It just made no sense to me.

I think the biggest hurdle for me to get over, however, was the fact that the book was written by D.E. Night, and there is a character in the book called Derwin Edgar Night.  When I first saw the name a couple chapters in, I thought it was just a tongue-in-cheek reference, which was still annoying but I was able to move past it. Then this character became a very important character in the book.

The author's name is probably a pseudonym, but it still drove me nuts.  The only thing that would have made it passable was if there was a prologue at the end that said that the book was written by Derwin Edgar Night as the Lovely family's scrivinst (basically a magical family historian).  But that didn't happen.  I believe that this is going to be a series, so maybe that will come, but it really irritated me in this book.  It just seemed kind of hokey and unnecessary.  I don't know if it was the author's intention to base a character on herself, but there are definitely different, more subtle ways to do it.

I hate to be so negative, but I really didn't have a great reading experience with this.  It was more work than anything to get through the book.  I can certainly recognize that it wasn't written for a 31 year old, but I read enough books that aren't meant for my age and enjoy them perfectly fine.  Harry Potter certainly isn't aimed at 28/29 year old first readers, but I absolutely loved it when I first read it at that age.  This one just didn't do it for me.  I read a lot of reviews before writing this one, so I know that there is an audience out there that really loves this book.  I'm unfortunately not a part of it.

Have you read this book?  I know it was all over the place on Instagram, so I know lots of people received copies.  Let me know what you think in the comments!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...