For starters, thank you to Stories Untold Press for the autographed copy of The Crowns of Croswald! Like I said, I’m always interested in reading new books, and I’ll certainly share my honest feedback.
The Crowns of Croswald looked super interesting! Young adult and fantasy novels are always a bit of an indulgence for me because I don’t feel I should be reading YA as I’m an actual adult. This novel was also a winner of the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards.
The Crowns of Croswald opens on a young-ish girl named Ivy. She is a maid in a castle, working with mini dragons who cook the food in the castle. She lives in a room so small that there are no windows and she can’t stand up all the way. Her best friend is a dwarf named Rimbrick.
After being relieved of her position at the castle, she runs away and is picked up by some interesting people. Lo and behold, she is destined to study at the infamous Halls of Ivy, where those with magical or scrivenist ability learn.
There’s a lot that happens in the novel, and also not that much at all. Ivy learns her true potential in the last couple of chapters, and you are left wondering, “What’s next?”
My “Issues” with The Crowns of Croswald
Now, I want to preface this by saying that I want to continue reading the series. I felt this book spent so much time in the build up and exposition and explanation of the “universe” that the real meat of the book won’t be until the second novel. Curiosity killed the cat, right? I need to know what happens next!
Anyway. I personally felt that this book was a bit too reminiscent of Harry Potter. I mean, young person repressed from the world they really belong in. Some rich kid who will make fun of the lead. A female friend and a male friend. A stranger who comes to reveal all of the secrets and take them away to the world where they belong. An adversary only the lead can defeat. It’s all there.
I also firmly believe that this isn’t a standard young adult novel. Perhaps I haven’t read a truly pure young adult fantasy novel in a while. However, it read like it was written more for the 10-12 year old range, though the characters were meant to be 16+ (I think. Still not sure on this one as there was a lot of conflicting math at the end.). The characters also acted younger than they were, which was a bit bothersome. I’d say this book is perfect for your mature middle schooler with an active imagination.
All in, I gave The Crowns of Croswald three stars on Goodreads. It wasn’t the best, but I didn’t feel like I was wasting my time. I’m still interested to see where it goes, so I’ll have to see if my library has a copy.
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