I just finished this book and I honestly don’t know what to say about it. There were some parts of this book that were disgusting, but in a good way. There were some parts of this book that probably were not age appropriate for a YA label, but damn. Basically, if you like the court politics and history of Philippa Gregory’s novels, and the magic of The Seven Realms series this is definitely the book for you.
The Ring and the Crown is set in the early twentieth century in a reimagined Europe and Americas. Queen Eleanor of England and France has a daughter named Marie-Victoria who has been crippled by illness, but has been promised to Prince Leopold of Prussia in exchange for the war between the two countries to stop. The problem is Marie doesn’t love Leopold and after you get introduced to the character you kind of understand why. Leopold is kind of...nah, scratch that…is definitely an ass hat. His mistreatment of women is disgusting, even though Isabelle – a descendent of the French royal line before Eleanor took over – kind of deserves it (until near the end when you realize why she acts like she does). Marie loves Gill, a member of the Queen’s Guard who is assigned to protect her, and plans to run away with him with a little help from her friend Aelwyn – a member of the magic race, who’s father is the queen’s Merlin.
And just when you think you’ve got the cast of characters figured out, there are few more added into the mix. Leopold’s brother – Wolf, who is just amazing – and then a young woman from New York, Ronan who comes to England for the season looking for a husband to save her family from poverty.
So, the parts of this book that was disgusting had to deal with Isabelle’s family. Her cousin Hugh who takes care of her and her other cousin Louis when her family dies from the wasting plague is a total creep. When you first meet him he’s touching Isabelle and it isn’t revealed until near the end that he’s been visiting her nightly for years. Gross. And what do you mean Isabelle loves her cousin Louis? Uh…
My only complaint was that I wish there was more Aelwyn, other then that, talk about twists and turns galore!
Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Melissa de la Cruz has done it again and I can’t wait to see what the next book holds. Can it be released now, please? I need more Wolf in my life!
Bookshelf worthy? Just on the cover art and inner book design alone, definitely.