Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Stranger to Command (Crown & Court 0.5)” as Want to Read:
A Stranger to Command (Crown & Court 0.5)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Stranger to Command (Crown & Court 0.5)

by
3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  1,239 Ratings  ·  154 Reviews
A STRANGER TO COMMANDIn this much-anticipated prequel to CROWN DUEL, Vidanric Renselaeus, fifteen-year-old Marquis of Shevraeth, finds himself sent across the continent to a military academy in Marloven Hess, a kingdom known for its violent history. Vidanric is used to civilized life in pleasant Remalna--except that the evidence is increasingly clear that the civilization ...more
Hardcover, 476 pages
Published August 1st 2008 by YA Angst
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Beth
Mar 16, 2016 Beth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
March 2016: This is still weirdly compelling and evocative. I say weirdly, because I can't quite pin my finger on why this is so successful (and this is after multiple rereads over the last few years). Maybe it's alternate school story charm, albeit a fairly unusual school? Maybe it's sympathy for the isolated protagonist?

Somehow, I can read this story of said isolated protagonist - no friends, really, even after years in the school; nothing more than friendly acquaintances - and yet I can find
...more
Melissa McShane
Okay, I have a confession. I didn't read this book for the longest time because the print copy has a picture of some young man who TOTALLY does not match my image of Shevraeth, staring off into the middle distance as if he has just cut one and is hoping no one notices. My apologies to the young man in the picture.

I love prequels. I love the narrative naivete that has the characters saying things where the reader knows what's going to happen but the characters don't. I love getting a different pe
...more
Clare Cannon
Jun 17, 2010 Clare Cannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 12 years - YA

This review is not for Sherwood fans (who will read and love this book regardless), but for anyone looking for a book which will contribute something to their lives. It will be very hard to write it without sounding over-enthusiastic in my praise. Please remember that whatever else I say, this book is both down to earth and highly entertaining.

Don’t be discouraged if the plot appears narrow at first: in a time that feels medieval a fifteen year old boy attends a foreign military command school.
...more
Alissa
Aug 29, 2016 Alissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-ebooks
Mh, young boys and academies. I’m not usually too keen about straight coming-of-age tales, much less those revolving around training schools, yet lately I've read almost two in a row, go figure. Anyway, I really liked this one. I had my first Sherwood Smith's taste when I picked the excellent -and I mean excellent- The Trouble with Kings, a story that within the borders of YA literature starts deceptively simple and becomes truly riveting.

Its world-building was particularly intriguing, if light,
...more
Laura (Kyahgirl)
4.5/5; 5 stars ; A

This book is, by far, my favorite of those I've listened to by this author. The fantastic narration is a big factor. Fred Berman has a voice that can seamlessly move between young and old voices, as well as male and female. I liked how the bulk of the narration was done with an American accent and then when Vidranic was speaking or the letters between him and his family were reference it was with a different accent.

Anyway, this is a character driven story of a young man, thrus
...more
Jacob Proffitt
Apr 15, 2014 Jacob Proffitt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favorite
This is a "proper" prequel in that knowing the "future" events in Crown Duel enhances the story and emotional connection in important ways. This book is the story of Vidanric's training during the years he spent away from Remalna that are so key to who he becomes. Interestingly, it isn't just the martial and command training, but we also get to see the formation of his theories of government, royalty, and the duties of rulership. And it is interesting as Smith fits his theoretical journey into t ...more
Helena
Oct 03, 2009 Helena rated it really liked it
I was really looking forward to reading this book when I found out about it. I'm a huge Crown Duel (CD) fan; I don't think I have a right to call myself a Sherwood Smith fan, as I haven't read all her books.

When I FINALLY got the book, it took me about 2 days to read it, despite the fact that it's 476 pages and I had to work. Couldn't put it down. Although I'm not sure how much that has to do with the fact that I really loved the Vidanric character from CD. I really enjoyed seeing Vidanric's dev
...more
Miriam
Jul 07, 2010 Miriam rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, ya, school
Despite the veneer of fantasy, this is essentially a school story with a culture-clash twist. The king of Remalna is in the habit of having fatal accidents happen to the heirs of prominent nobles, so young Vidanric's parents send him to a military academy in a far-off land. Vidanric comes from a more courtly and less martial culture, and most of the book is taken up with his efforts to learn new skills and adapt. There are occasional hints of foreign threats ("the EVIL Norsunders!") but nothing ...more
Miss Clark
Apr 05, 2009 Miss Clark rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who A) Really loves Crown Duel B) Really loves Sherwood Smith
Recommended to Miss Clark by: Athanarel
Love Senrid and Liere. Cannot wait to read their stories. Love Vidanric's parents madly. They are so amazing. Is there a story somewhere that tells their tale?

I like the promise that Elestra has Vidanric make and then she says that she and Alaric have to practice it as well.

Vidanric is trying to come to an understanding of authority, Civilization. Kingship. Command. Duty. Love. Right and wrong. It really is a growing up/ maturing/ coming-of-age tale for him. (He has a little D-Y. He can pick up
...more
Elaney
Aug 20, 2013 Elaney rated it it was amazing
First of all, that cover is horrid.

A) He looks vapid

B) He doesn't look anything like I pictured Vidanric

C) My mom said he looked like he was in his undershirt

D) I am very sure that they could have found a better looking guy

All that said, I still loved this book. I don't know why I liked it so much, but I did. I will not be able to write a review worthy of this book, so I am going to keep it nice and short. At the end, I felt like I wanted more. There were so many questions running through my hea
...more
Debbie
Nov 20, 2009 Debbie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, fantasy
"Stranger to Command" is the prequel to "Crown Duel" and, in a way, a sequel to "Senrid." You don't need to have read either of these books to understand and enjoy "Stranger to Command" though some of the references will (obviously) have more meaning if you've read these books. Because of this, I'd actually recommend reading "Crown Duel" before "Stranger to Command" even though this is technically the prequel.

The world-building was excellent. The clash of unique cultures--Remalna manners against
...more
Catharine
Dec 20, 2010 Catharine rated it liked it
OK. So I like Sherwood Smith's stuff, especially Court Duel, which is why I read this, and I liked this book, too, but I don't feel like it's her best work.

To be honest I'm not sure why she's publishing with this publisher. Why?

1. I feel like the editing isn't that great. Basically, it's like what I've heard about cutting gems out of rocks, the gem is hidden and it takes work to reveal it and set it off to its best advantage. I feel like there is a good story in this book, but it's hidden by a
...more
Margaret
This is a prequel to Crown Duel and is related also to Senrid (which I didn't know before reading it), but I think it stands very well on its own.

Fifteen-year-old Vidanric Renselaeus, Marquis of Shevraeth, has been sent from his home in Remalna to a military academy in Marloven Hess in order to escape political unrest at home, where the king is increasingly out of control. In Marloven Hess, Vidanric must learn and accept many new things: a new name (the Marlovens assume his title, Shevraeth, is
...more
Eileen
Nov 16, 2011 Eileen rated it it was amazing
This book is the prequel to Crown Duel and certainly provides interesting background to the other two stories.
I loved the way Vidanric is painted and develops over the story. Then when you read the next two books so many of his actions have a rich background full of intrigue.

I re-read Crown Duel and Court Duel and loved them even more with this fascinating background in my mind.

YAY!!!!
I have always wondered how Sherwood Smith's various series related to each other and had not found the answer on
...more
Hallie
Sep 06, 2008 Hallie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, fantasy
Working on a 'proper' write-up of this, but for now, will just say that I loved it. Prequel to the Crown and Court Duet, which raised high expectations - and they were met.
Me
Jul 30, 2015 Me rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember surprisingly little of Crown Duel, I must read it again.
Bailey
Oct 25, 2015 Bailey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
My review after reading this book for the second time:
"Honestly, A Stranger To Command is totally one of my favorite books of all time right now! I love it! Plus it makes a really fun and great re-read, too!

It also has a strongly prominent more serious side to it, which I thought was very well done, and which I quite liked. A Stranger To Command is one of the most brilliant and deeply moving books I have ever read. I have often heard that each book we read leaves its own individual mark upon our
...more
Virginia Ballesty
Jun 26, 2015 Virginia Ballesty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m usually hesitant about picking up prequel books. Prequel’s can be a hard sell in terms of keeping characters consistent with their older selves and keeping tension in the plot when the reader already knows how it ends. I made an exception in this case because I like Sherwood Smith and really enjoyed Crown Duel and Court Duel… I’m glad I did, this book certainly wasn’t a disappointment.

The Good:
-As always, Sherwood Smith’s world is incredibly detailed and easy to fall in to. She has a wonderf
...more
Chachic
Nov 20, 2011 Chachic rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Sherwood Smith fans
Looks like I forgot to cross-post my review of this. I wrote it in my blog last year:

I love Crown Duel and it's in my list of favorites. Vidanric is also in my list of fictional guy crushes. I loved that Sherwood wrote Crown Duel outtakes, which involved certain scenes told from the point of view of Vidanric (these are included in the e-book version, which can be purchased here). Vidanric was so aloof for the most of Crown Duel so it was refreshing to see his side of the story. A Stranger to Com
...more
Sbuchler
May 12, 2010 Sbuchler rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rachel Neumeier
Sep 03, 2013 Rachel Neumeier rated it it was amazing
You know how uber-confident Shevraeth is in Crown Duel / Court Duel. You know how he got that way? Not by sheer authorial fiat, it turns out. No. He got that way because of his background, which is covered in A Stranger to Command – which can be read either before or after the duology, but I enjoyed reading it afterward. It is a much slower paced novel dealing with Shevraeth’s years in a military school in a foreign country, and it is so interesting, because Smith totally deals with the day-to-d ...more
Steph Su
Sep 24, 2012 Steph Su rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book
Oh goodness, but this book did take me ages to finish! Hard to imagine that happening to any story containing any beloved character from the most awesome Crown Duel. Alas, Vidanric's years-long education at Marloven Hess was not as easy for me to read as Meliara's adventures and character growth. The truth of the matter is that very little happens in this book beyond the typical growth experienced by a young man at an academy. If you're the kind who appreciates and can be extremely patient with ...more
#artdamnit Reads
Jun 02, 2011 #artdamnit Reads rated it really liked it
A Stranger to Command by Sherwood Smith is a prequel to Crown Duel about Vindanric’s life as a teenager when he gets sent away to the military land of Marloven Hess when a lot of the heirs start having quite a few riding “accidents.”

My intrest in reading this book though wasn’t really to see Vindanric as a teen (though i would love to read Crown Duel entirely in his point of view!) but to see how much Marloven Hess changed from the Inda Series. And it was pretty cool, you get a more in depth vie
...more
Jacey
Mar 10, 2012 Jacey rated it really liked it
A prequel to Crown Duel which tells Shevraeth's story from entering the military academy in far off Marloven Hess as an untried fifteen year old to emerging as a competent commander and swordsman with a mission to take the throne of his own country from a paranoid tyrant who is killing those he sees as rivals in a series of unfortunate accidents.

It's a right of passage novel, particularly interesting for taking another look at the Marlovan Academy which has evolved, but in some ways hardly chang
...more
michelle
Oct 06, 2013 michelle rated it really liked it
Fellow YA fan, Hoolie, who has recommended many of the books I have read and loved, said I first I should read Crown Duel(sold as Crown Duel and Court Duel together) followed by the prequel A Stranger to Command by Sherwood Smith. This was an excellent suggestion. It took me a while after reading the entertaining medieval, fantasy Crown Duel to start A Stranger to Command but once I did, I was hooked! Now I am re-reading Crown Duel to stay with the characters longer. Sherwood Smith has written m ...more
Robin
Jan 20, 2015 Robin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For those who read CROWN DUEL and couldn't get enough of Shevraeth, this book is 100% for you. I'm glad I read them in that order--Crown Duel first--because it made me the perfect audience for a longer book just about Shevraeth's youth. And now want to reread Crown Duel so I can enjoy it again, but now with the new perspective.

That, in my eyes, is the mark of a good book: you enjoy it so much, you want to start over with the books that first introduced you to the character.

Next up, continuing th
...more
Lauren
Jun 02, 2009 Lauren rated it it was amazing
Loved it! A prequel to the Crown Duel/Court Duel books, and a sequel to Senrid, and it's a return to Marloven-Hess and the Academy of horse-back fighters. In this story, a foreigner is allowed to attend the academy, and his struggle to fit in & conquer the physical challenges is contrasted with the diferent but equally hazardous challenges his family & friends face at home. And what about the threat of war with Norsunder?
Alyssa
Apr 18, 2013 Alyssa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: boarding-school
Oh Shevraeth!!! This book definitely made me so happy (while breaking my heart) because it was all the Vidanric squeeing coupled with the Academy which I have grown to know and love (even though it has changed!). Sherwood continues to amaze me with her depth of world-building and conversations about leadership, kingship, and command. I believe I've been thoroughly indoctrinated as I just want to spend all of my time in Sartorias-deles.
Fayley
This is the book against which I compare all other "knightly training" stories. It remains the best.
Catherine
Dec 15, 2008 Catherine rated it it was amazing
This book surprised me by making me think much more about leadership and discipline than I would have ever expected from a YA fantasy book. Thank you to the author for an enlightening read.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Mislaid Magician: or Ten Years After (Cecelia and Kate, #3)
  • Bound in Blood (Kencyrath, #5)
  • The King's Sword (Erdemen Honor, #1)
  • A Conspiracy of Kings (The Queen's Thief, #4)
  • I Dare (Liaden Universe, #13)
  • The Lion Hunter (The Lion Hunters, #4)
  • The Whim of the Dragon (The Secret Country, #3)
  • The Safe-Keeper's Secret (Safe-Keepers, #1)
  • Athena's Daughters, Vol. 1
  • The Complete Ivory: Gate of Ivory, Two-Bit Heroes, Guilt Edged Ivory
  • Wheel of the Infinite
  • The Healer's Keep (Healer and Seer, #2)
  • Lab Rat One (Touchstone, #2)
  • The Sleeping God (Dhulyn and Parno, #1)
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...

Other Books in the Series

Crown & Court (2 books)
  • Crown Duel (Crown & Court, #1)
  • Court Duel (Crown & Court, #2)

Share This Book



“I endeavor to be serious and you will not take me seriously” 5 likes
“Choose the duty that you can most effectively execute: that is, finally, all we can do in life.” 2 likes
More quotes…