Crown Duel (Crown & Court #1-2)
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Crown Duel (Crown & Court #1-2 revised)

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4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  13,375 ratings  ·  667 reviews
Young Countess Meliara swears to her dying father that she and her brother will defend their people from the growing greed of the king. That promise leads them into a war for which they are ill-prepared, which threatens the very people they are trying to protect. But war is simple compared to what follows, in peacetime. Meliara is summoned to live at the royal palace, wher...more
Paperback, Omnibus, 471 pages
Published June 10th 2002 by Firebird (first published March 1st 1997)
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Krystle
I’m ashamed to say I’ve only read this classic of young adult fantasy now. How horrid, no? I don’t know what I’ve been missing out. Forget about Katsa, Katniss, and all those other strong hard-headed heroines you love. Meliara is the original and stakes her claim on the throne until this day.

The first book was filled with action, action, and lots more action. I wasn’t really gripped by it because of how annoying Meliara was. She was brash, stubborn, irrational, prejudiced, and very rude. She dov...more
Catie
Jul 13, 2011 Catie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Catie by: Jessica
Shelves: fantasy, ya, read-in-2011
3 ½ stars

First of all, I just want to say that I love the cover of this book. I love her black eyed scruffiness, her frosty stare, and most of all, the impressive sword clutched in her hand. Unfortunately, all of these elements led me to believe that this would be a sort of powerful and resourceful female heroine who saves the day type of book. And, I guess it sort of is. But if you go into this expecting the strength, determination, and steel of say, Alanna, then you’ll probably be disappointed...more
Laura
I began to dislike the book early in the beginning, because Meliara has the same characteristics of other heroines that bother me. She is small, but feisty and tough, but small, and even though she's small, she fights. Did you understand that she is short and skinny? You understand that she's small, right?

Despite the fact that Meliara is constantly being reminded/reminding us that she is small and feisty, the book was hard to put down, though I don't really understand why. I guess I still wante...more
Valerie
I don't know what was wrong with me all this time. Something always kept me from reading this book. I can't even remember what is was anymore. Boy was I missing out. I should've read this book when I was younger, I would've loved this with every once of my being. Now that I've read more books I'm a bit more picky (but not by too much).

The plot was excellent. The beginning was a bit fast without any real excitment going on. It seemed like Smith just wanted to skip some scenes to get to Mel's adv...more
Sherwood Smith
Jun 04, 2009 Sherwood Smith added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: my-books
Well, I loved writing this story when I was in my very early twenties, and I loved typing it up when I was in my forties . . . if I were to write it over, the Merindars would be central, not poor Mel, but hey. Time and tides.
Carla *Jen7waters*
I loved this book! Loved, loved, LOOOOVED IT! *happy mode* Even if part 1 and part 2 are so different - I loved the story itself, the scenarios, the chases, even the battles, the parties and the gowns, and most of all, the rebellious and CRAZY-stubborn heroine Meliara and her extreme, blind, completely prejudiced dislike towards Vidanric, when he clearly loves her in Mr.Darcy's style: with heavenly patience and absolute subtleness. (Well, if one doesn’t count The Wager part. Meliara, how could y...more
Hallie
Mar 26, 2014 Hallie rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: anyone who's smart enough not to avoid YA just because it's YA! And ditto for fantasy.
Before I start this review, I’m just going to do a bit of basking in the feeling that I was wonderfully smart to abandon my huge to-read and maybe-read lists and reread this. I’m really not doing any rereading at the moment, which is the sad flip-side of discovering so many new books from friends here, so it was unusual enough to merit some comment. (If not basking, in all honesty.)

That done, I also want to mention that I got the updated-with-extras ebook from Book View Café for this reread, de...more
Jacob Proffitt
I love this story and have reread it a couple of times over the years. A new edition with new scenes from Vidanric's point of view has been released through Book View Café, making this a great time to read it again. I highly recommend getting this edition as the price is incredible and the added stories justify the cost alone. If you're already a fan, you'll enjoy the added insights and Smith's writing keeps it fresh and much more than a simple retelling of the familiar in slightly altered form....more
Melissa Proffitt
Jacob pointed out that there are spoilers in this, and rather than locate them all, or put the whole thing behind a spoiler tag (it's not that bad) I'm going to post this warning. Read the book first. You should probably do that anyway.

***

I dove into this yesterday evening and emerged, satisfied, some hours later, after which I spent more hours thinking and replaying parts in my head, because that is what I do when I don’t quite want to let go of a book. I read this first in two parts, back in 1...more
Valerie
Crown Duel is an old favorite, and I've lost count of the times I have revisited Remalna, the magical kingdom Crown Duel takes place in. If you're looking for a book to get for a young teen who loves fantasy and you'd like it to have the kind of romance healthy relationships are based on, I highly recommend this novel.

Meliara Astiar is a stubborn, hotheaded countess who is as honest as she is ignorant. The novel begins in a drafty room in the Tlanth castle, where Bran and Mel swear to their fat...more
Amanda
I'm actually not sure if Crown Duel is considered YA or not, but given that I heard about this on the recommendation of a YA book blogger, and it seemed to fit that mode as I read it, I'm calling it YA.

I liked this well enough, with one major exception. Originally published as two books, Crown Duel was republished as one book with two parts, which I think works. My 3 star rating is actually a personal reaction to the main character, Meliara. I've developed this vendetta against a certain kind o...more
Allison
(Updated Review Jan 11, 2014)

This was a lighter tale of political intrigue and danger, with a little bit of magic, and a good dash of romance.

This edition is actually two books in one. Crown Duel, the first book, focuses on a rebellion against the king, with several people going after the crown. This book, I would maybe rate 3 stars, even though it was "just ok." I must have been in the right mood to read it at the time. It is full of adventure and calamity, as the heroine, Mel, escapes from on...more
Ellen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Monica!
Crown Duel is a book that I’ve been wanting to read for years now, but I couldn’t remember the name. It was just “that one book, with the girl with the black eye and the I WILL CUT YOU expression.” And then I found it (thanks Goodreads!) but still didn’t get around to actually reading it.

But finally. The time has come.

I think perhaps because I’d been thinking about the cover the whole time, I had managed to warp the book into a sort of Tamora Pierce/First Test knock-off. Which wouldn’t have been...more
Lilyan
First review of 2014. I am not impressed.

This did not work for me. It did not work for me for one simple reason: The first half of the book was weak.

This is a Fantasy Y.A. with political intrigue elements to it and a light teenager-y romance. Mel, our heroine, is a countess of a district called Tlanth, which falls in Remalna city. Mel and her brother have never been to the capital and after their mother's death, their dad filled them with hatred and fear towards the noble and the courtiers. Wh...more
Jia Ling Pan
Jan 11, 2012 Jia Ling Pan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Tamora Pierce fans, David Eddings fans
3.5 Stars. Quite liked it for its 'sweet and simple' story.

Sometimes I think there should be a genre known as 'charming quintessential fantasy'; for the books that don't reinvent the fantasy genre but still maintains to be quite enjoyable if albeit predictable.

This book is actually a compilation of 2 books in the series (Crown Duel and Court Duel). The Kindle version comes compiled with about 30 to 40 pages of extras, previously written for the author's livejournal page. I'm not sure if the pri...more
Lauren
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steph Su
Oh how I adore feisty heroines embroiled in duplicitous, action-packed fantasy political intrigues and romance! I wish I had known about this book earlier, for I have a feeling it will be one that I return to again and again for that magical dose of adventure, feminism, and romance.

Mel is my favorite kind of fantasy heroine: tough, resourceful, opinionated, and scared of being seen as vulnerable despite her deeply warm heart. I don’t even care that this type of female protagonist is a fantasy tr...more
Wealhtheow
Mar 31, 2008 Wealhtheow rated it 2 of 5 stars Recommends it for: fans of Tamora Pierce
Shelves: fantasy, ya
Raised in obscurity and poverty, Countess Melaria vows vengeance against the tyrant ruling her country. She and her older brother embark upon an ill-advised guerilla war. Despite the naivete of her side (they consider itching powder in bedding a particularly successful tactic), they drive off the first commander--who is replaced by Shevraeth, a Scarlet Pimpernell type. He easily defeats the ragtag peasant army Melaria leads, then uses his triumphant return to the capital to stage an effective co...more
Maveht
This was good. Not astonishingly good, but pretty much...okay-ish? Ok, not the best compliment in the world, but damn, it was kind of boring in the beginning, and I had to make a real effort to get into it, and none of the plot twists were in any way surprising...

Some books just grip you from the first page and you waste an entire night reading them. This one? Well, by the time i managed to read 10% of it, I had taken a nap, washed a pile of dishes and found time for some TED videos. For an amaz...more
Debbie
This book is actually two books. I loved the world-building in both books, but I enjoyed the main characters the best in the second book/half.

Meliara sure does know how to hold on to a grudge, but she's got a lot of great attributes, too. The pacing was good, and the story was exciting. I enjoyed the romance, but also liked that there weren't any sex scenes.
First Second Books
In which the under-educated, lacking-social-graces, and ill-informed heroine realizes that she is all of these things after becoming a heroine and then works to become better.

Why doesn’t this happen in more books?
Michelle Witte
I’ve always been a girl—a very girly girl—but there’s also a part of me that wants to take on the bad guys and kick butt. At the end of long, hard, butt-kicking day, though, I want some romance, too. I imagine that’s the biggest reason why I adore Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith. I related to Meliara, the young Countess of a backwater province who fights a lopsided war against a tyrannical king.

The thing about Mel, though, is that she gets nearly everything wrong when it comes to fighting and polit...more
Chachic
This is a duology, originally published as two books (Crown Duel and Court Duel) but Firebird combined both books in one edition.

Meliara (Mel for short), the impoverished Countess of Tlanth, tells the story from her point of view. I loved the fact that Mel is such an unreliable narrator and how the story unfolded from the way she sees things. The first part of the book involves a war against a tyrant of a king because both Mel and her brother Branaric promised their father that they will do what...more
Margaret
When their father dies, the young Countess Meliara and her brother Count Branaric inherit his struggle against the grasping, tyrannical king. They're drawn into a world of war and intrigue, where nothing is as it seems and where Meliara must quickly use her native intelligence to figure out how to handle herself and protect her country.

I started out my first reading several years ago being very impatient with Meliara, whom I found annoying because she kept acting immaturely and impulsively, nev...more
apple
Meliara, come on girl! That guy’s a keeper! -- Reading this romantic fantasy series is one of the rare occasions when I feel like I have absolutely nothing in common with the protagonist (except being vertically-challenged.. as you know, good things come in small packages) but still rooting for her anyway. I’m curious to see how Mel would turn out in a few more years after Court Duel. She could be the Queen of Attolia in the making.. I do so wish the part where Mel learns all the politicky court...more
Sarah
Not a bad book overall, but just a few too many generic fantasy-novel cliches for my liking - you know, semi-medieval world, lots of long journeys on horseback for which provisions are endlessly being packed, characters always having involved discussions about the boring politics of the imaginary country, heroines constantly getting filthy and having to dress in rags and then being allowed the luxury of a bath and clean clothes, taverns with cheery landlords, et cetera.... actually that probably...more
Kirsty (Amethyst Bookwyrm)
This and my other reviews can be found at http://amethystbookwyrm.blogspot.co.uk/

Meliara and her brother promise their dying father to protect their people from the King’s growing greed, but they find themselves in over their heads both in the war they are waging and in peacetime at the court. Meliara is a very strong and independent person and Smith has a talent for writing interesting and well-rounded characters. This is an incredible story and would recommend it to everyone who likes enjoyabl...more
Gail Carriger
This is a great book, a fantasy dealing out escape and battle, political maneuvering, and court etiquette underwritten by a beautiful romance of miscommunication. Crown Duel is two novella length stories (Crown Duel & Court Duel) about the same characters combined into one novel. Mel is a strong capable single minded heroine, very like Elizabeth Bennett, only with a sword at her side. Her love interest is clever, appealing, and gentle.
Donna
The heroine was stubborn and at times closed-minded, but she remained likable and was well developed during the story. The main male character is fantastic.

The first book (or, the first half of the combined edition) was action-packed, but I greatly prefer the court intrigue of the second.
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12350
I am a writer, but I'm here on Goodreads to talk about books, as I've been a passionate reader as long as I've been a writer--since early childhood.

I'm not going to rate books--there are too many variables. I'd rather talk about the reading experience. My 'reviews' of my books are confined to the writing process.

More about Sherwood Smith...
Court Duel (Crown & Court, #2) Crown Duel (Crown & Court, #1) A Posse of Princesses Inda (Inda, #1) The Fox (Inda, #2)

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“You, there, girl! Halt!"
Who in the universe ever halts when the enemy tells them to?”
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“A wager?" I repeated.
"Yes," he said, and gave me a slow smile, bright with challenge. ...
"Stake?" I asked cautiously. He was still smiling, an odd sort of smile, hard to define.
"A kiss." My first reaction was outrage, but then I remembered that I was on my way to Court, and that had to be the kind of thing they did at Court. And if I win I don't have to collect. I hesitated only a moment longer, lured by the thought of open sky, and speed, and winning.
"Done," I said.”
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