Title: Crowns of Croswald
Author: D. E. Night
Genre: MG/YA fantasy
Publisher: Stories Untold
Publication date: July 2017
Synopsis from Goodreads:
For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, 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.
I was provided with a copy of The Crowns of Croswald from the publisher (Stories Untold) and authour D. E. Night in exchange for my honest review.
This book comes across as middle grade to very early YA literature. I do not normally delve into middle-grade books and I think this sometimes made it harder for me to read/ get into especially to start with. However, the premises of this story and the very Harry Potter-ish vibes that I got from the get go was enough to intrigue me.
First off, I want to take a moment to talk about this book visually. I am in love with the cover of this book. Now as some as you regular lovelies may know I have an obsession with the Fae and fairy’s, so I could be biased! But just look at it, so cute and pretty and magical! The inside of the book also has cute chapter header art that looks like little hand sketch drawings. The book also included some mix media presentation in the form of some letters etc. I think all of this really makes the reading process just a little more special and interesting.
The story has a very magical feel from the get go with a whole new world and magic system being presented. With this comes many new names of places and objects and many definitions of these things. As well as many things being given similar names. At the start of the book as in the first five or so chapters this feels kind of like a big info dump and it at times was quite confusing even to me an adult trying to read this middle grade book. However, I think the author may have been aware of this issue as even the MC comments on the overwhelming nature of all she (and in turn the reader) is learning.
“You all really should start coming up with new names for things”, She told the Selector. “It’s all very confusing.”
Having said this though once I did start to remember the names and meanings of certain new magical things I was able to get into the story a little better and even fell in love with some of the things D E Night has invented. My favourite would have to be the Hairies, tiny little fairies with glowing hair that they use as lights! How cute and magical is that! I want one!! In green and silver please!
I also found that the time flow of the story felt very jumpy at times and some of the interactions between characters did not always seem natural. However, this was minor and did not stop me from enjoying the magical journey as despite my little issues that aspect was still strongly there. This book was a mysterious, magical, fast paced adventure. And those feelings and that Harry Potter like nostalgia had me wanting to go along this journey with Ivy and find out what happens despite any issues I may have had. The ending was also very dramatic and enlightening but left many leading plot lines. Which leave me intrigued to know what happens next!
In conclusion, as I do not read middle grade often I do not have much to compare to what they are like. And I did have a few issues with the writing such as info dumping and character interactions. However, this may be a common occurrence in MG books, I am not sure. So, for me personally, these issues were a little off putting from the story. However, I overall enjoyed the book and the magical adventure vibes. I loved learning about the magic system and creatures and would continue on with the series when future books are released. Therefore, this book was a 3.5 star read for me! Have you read this book? If so what did you think? Do you read much middle grade or early young adult fiction? As always happy watching and reading!