Review: The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

April 10, 2014 3.5 stars, Book Review, Young Adult 19 ★★★½

Review: The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la CruzThe Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz
Published by Disney-Hyperion on April 1, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
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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.


Ring around the Rosey, pocketful of posey Although The Ring and the Crown gives the reader a unique version of alternate history London, there are no less than 4 heroines in this book. Aelwyn, Marie, Ronan and Isabelle. Even with the 4 heroines the storyline and their individual story arcs were very easy to follow. They each had distinctive personalities and voices I could hear in my head. In addition to reading from the perspective of each young lady we also get one male perspective as well. I found this to be so refreshing and a much needed change now and then from the tempo of female life during their time period. Through each of their eyes we see a different picture painted of history, one with magic as an integral part of London’s society. This very magic is at at odd with electric and steam innovation. Combine these things with the flair of Arthurian legend and it all melded for quite the enjoyable read.

Proper etiquette wouldn’t be proper without lies and manipulation It’s always been interesting to read period books that contain such different standards of etiquette and behavior than we have today. Not that people are much different today than they were then if you are getting right down to the heart of matters. Money, power, prestige, lust – these are things that people will destroy lives for. So believe me when I say, this was darker than I thought it would be. And while that might not give you the warm and fuzzies you want, if you enjoy an occasional emotional roller coaster read than you will appreciate this one. Heck, I’d like to say the old bait and switch was pulled on me quite a few times, which is certainly hard to do.

And this is how a heart breaks I didn’t actually cry while reading The Ring and the Crown but I could picture some of my friends prone to tears doing so. This book took an approach and direction in the storytelling that I wouldn’t have expected from reading the description. Typically, most young adult books follow a pattern that I definitely feel the author here veered away from. In actuality I likely wouldn’t even consider this in the young adult genre. If I were shelving it I would put it right into the adult fantasy section. It was a bold move the way Melissa de la Cruz did things and I anticipate many readers will enjoy the stray from the norm. I’m unsure, but this might be the first in a series. I personally don’t believe it needs anything further because all of the strings are effectively tied off and the end definitely felt like an ending. Which I was very pleased to feel like I had closure.

*gasp* This book was provided by the publisher! Now worries though it’s an honest review and all opinions expressed are my own. This post might also contain affiliate links. To view my full Blog Policy, click here.

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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19 Responses to “Review: The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz”

    • Tabitha (Pabkins)

      Yes, it was very different than I had anticipated. Its not the standard issue YA which is a good thing most definitely. Though I fear that some heavy YA readers might be unhappy with it because of that – which is a shame because it is really good. I just personally do like a little sunshine after the rain and there is a fair amount of tragedy here.
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    • Tabitha (Pabkins)

      Thanks! and I love your personal anecdotes! I don’t know if I’d recommend it to you. Like I have a girlfriend that I know who loved historical fantasy and she likes historical fiction in general and she loves the sad ones too which makes her a perfect fit for this.

      Do you want a happy ending…if you do then I would say no.
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  1. Melliane

    the idea of this book is really intriguing, but I don’t really know what to do about it. yes because we can see many different reviews arounf here and it’s difficult to really know. Well yes, I just need to read it lol.

    • Tabitha (Pabkins)

      Haha if the book sounds intriguing to you then yes just totally go for it. I know people that love it and some that hate it.

      I tried to be really vague in my review cause if I say everything i really WANTED to say it would be spoilers the entire review. So while I think it was a really good book there are reasons I marked it 3.5 instead of higher that are personal preference things.
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  2. Mogsy

    You know what, I might actually give this a try now. Been so bombarded and jaded with love triangles and insta-love maybe I just want to laugh at some unfortunate lovers, eat their yummy tears and relish in their heartbreak. Oh I know, I’m feeling in an evil mood.
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  3. Kirsty-Marie

    I love reading alternate histories, (though the ones I have haven’t turned out that well) but I don’t seem to have any luck with Melissa de la Cruz’s books either, I just can’t seem to get into them. I’m anxious with multiple perspectives, I don’t mind a few, but I don’t seem to connect to any of them otherwise. I’ve read a few middle-ground reviews, so it’s nice to read more positives about it. I’ll probably read it to make up my own mind, and hey, you never know, it might be the first of hers that I’ll actually enjoy. And that’s solely because of the Arthurian connection (didn’t even know that), and I’m a sucker for anything do to with it. 🙂 Great review!
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    • Tabitha (Pabkins)

      Thanks Kristy – You know I haven’t read her Blue Blood books which people seem to enjoy. I’ve read the first myth / witch one and it was ok. Same with her Frozen one I thought was just ok. So for me I think she isn’t an author I love. But I definitely like this one the best of the three different books I’ve read of hers – though I think I gave them all around 3stars.

      Definitely would be a decide for yourself type book – I think people will either really enjoy this – or perhaps not at all.
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  4. Kirsty-Marie

    Which is why I need to stop looking at the covers and read the synopsis properly, haha. (I can be such a cover snob at times)It’s just the hat/headband/whatever that thing is.